Russian officials expect 20% fewer hajj goers compared to last year, due to devaluation of ruble

Devaluation of the Russian ruble against the U.S. dollar has created obstacles for many Russian pilgrims wishing to undertake the hajj this year, according to Ilyas Umakhanov, Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council and Commissioner for hajj at the Russian Government.

Devaluation of the Russian ruble against the U.S. dollar has created obstacles for many Russian pilgrims wishing to undertake the hajj this year, according to Ilyas Umakhanov, Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council and Commissioner for hajj at the Russian Government.

"The situation caused by the ruble-dollar exchange differences has become a barrier for the whole category of people wishing to undertake the hajj. This situation makes an insurmountable obstacle and the number of hajj-goers this year is going to drop by 20 percent minimum," Umakhanov told Interfax on August 19.

"We have a quota of 16,400 pilgrims and it would be a very good result if we managed to reach the level of 12,000 this year," he said.

However, while the number of pilgrims from all Russian regions will be lower, this number for Crimea will increase, as compared to the previous year, Umakhanov said.

"Last year, the number of [the Crimean] hajj-goers did not exceed 100, and it will be over 300 this year," he said.

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