Voronezh wasn’t cutting it.

Artyom had been out of college for four years, and job openings in the southern Russian city were sparse. Last fall, in search of better employment opportunities, he headed north to St. Petersburg.


But the journey wasn’t cheap. “I needed money for the move, an apartment and for daily expenses before I found work,” says Artyom, who asked to be identified by his first name only.

So Artyom opened a credit card account to finance the move. Three months later, the 26-year-old is already struggling to pay off the card’s 24 percent interest rate. While his mechanical engineering degree helped him land part-time work fixing household appliances, the inconsistent gigs don’t bring in enough earnings and the debts are beginning to pile up. Now he’s looking for a new loan to pay off the card.