Russia on the Ground – July, 2017

Russia on the Ground
July, 2017

RASP-BlueThis resource serves to track domestic news inside Russia – focusing primarily on demographics, public opinion, economy, and major domestic political events inside Russia.

It is intended to give students who are otherwise following major issues and events within Russia greater context from which to view those issues and events. This resource lists useful but often under-reported information that can help build a pragmatic and objective view of Russia’s domestic situation.

Russian Public Opinion

What Russians Want from Their President
56 percent of respondents overall expect their next leader to continue the country’s foreign policy “as it is now.” Another 42 percent feel the same way regarding domestic policy.

Poll Shows Russians Are Happier with Their Lives in 2017
According to Stepan Lvov, head of the pollster’s research department, the first half of 2017 can be described as a period of “steady recovery from the tailspin” that our society found itself in a year ago.

Half of Russians Condemn Stalin’s Repressions; 43% Justify Them
24% said their relatives were among those subjected to the punitive measures, including the infamous labor camps.

More Than Half of Russians Support Memorial Symbols in Honor of Stalin
Young people are more likely to support the monuments. Senior citizens tend to disagree.

35% of Russians Favor Introduction of Visas for Ukrainians
50% of Russians say that Russia and Ukraine should be independent but friendly states with open borders, without visas or customs.

Majority of Russians Support Criminalizing Drug Use
78% of Russians support the idea of criminalizing illegal drug use.

Russians Fear Economic Problems More Than War
The latest research, conducted in late June, showed the level of psychological tension in Russian society had increased.

Misremembering Russia’s War
In 2010, only 28 percent of respondents said that “no one except our enemy” was most responsible for the millions of deaths the Soviet Union suffered between 1941 and 1945. But by 2016, the figure had soared to 47 percent. Stalin is also being gradually absolved. Thirty percent blamed him in 2010, but only 21 percent in 2016.

More Russians Like Trump Following His Meeting with Putin
About 27 percent of Russian respondents liked U.S. President Donald Trump, up from 13 percent in April.

Daily Life

Moscow is Among Top 7 Intelligent Communities in the World
Selection criteria included the level of IT development and the role technology plays in the city’s daily life.

Russian Life Expectancy Hits Record High
Russian life expectancy has been on a sharp upward trajectory for more than a decade and, in fact, Russians now live longer than they ever have in their history.

Moscow’s Facelift as Modernization
Central Moscow has been a scene of digging and dredging for about three years now. Muscovites have gone from denial, anger, bargaining, all the way to acceptance. The current mood in Moscow: “We are in this forever.”

The Difficulties of Rehabilitation for Russia’s Ex-Prisoners
How Perm’s State Social Adaptation Centre is working to help released convicts re-enter society.

We Must Safeguard Inter-Ethnic Concord in Russian Society – Putin
Putin also said that he condemns any manifestations of radicalism, including during election campaigns of any level.

Russian Students Set World Record at 2017 ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest
The annual contest, held in America, was dominated by Russians, who took 1st, 4th, and 5th place. The Poles took second.

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Religion

Last Russian Tsar, Family Commemorated By Large Procession
Marchers carried Russian Orthodox icons and crosses in the procession from the site where Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Aleksandra, and their five children were killed in 1918 — months after the Bolsheviks seized power — to the spot where their bodies were buried.

Number of Athiests in Russia Halves in Three Years — Poll
The number of atheists in Russia has fallen to 13%. Only 8% of Russians have “negative feelings” towards atheists.

The Sophisticated Case of Religious Pluralism in Russia
There are 4 world-religions which are traditionally constitutive of the manifold cultures to be found within Russia’s territory – Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.

Russian Court Reduces Sentence for Blogger Who Played Pokemon Go in Church
During the interrogation of eyewitnesses, the blogger apologized to all worshippers who had complained about being offended.

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Internship in RussiaEconomy

The Project of the Century: 10 Facts About Europe’s Longest Bridge
The massive thoroughfare was 75 percent complete on July 17. It’s hoped it will open by December 2018.

Russia Sticks to Conservative $40 Oil Forecast for 2018 Budget
Russia sticks to conservative assumptions for oil prices, will rely on domestic borrowing to finance the deficit.

Unemployment Ranges from 1.5% in Moscow to 27.2% in Ingushetia – Rosstat
Russia is averaging 5.2% unemployment, but with massive disparities across the country.

Why Uber Is Merging With Its Russian Rival
While the deal must first pass regulatory approval, the boards of both companies have already given the green light. Uber will own just under 40 percent of the new business.

The Moscow Times Closes Print Edition
It’s official. Moscow has lost its last remaining English-language print newspaper.

Will a Vast New Russian Arctic Offshore Oil Field Impact Global Prices?
As of today, Rosneft has 28 license areas on the shelf, with total estimated reserves of 34 billion tons of oil.

Is Russia on the Cusp of a Green Revolution?
Green energy does not fall under the sanctions regime, meaning that Russia has more access to both Western funds and technology.

«Яндекс.Маркет» Решил Трансформироваться в Онлайн-Гипермаркет
Yandex.Market, currently basically a price aggregator, is looking to expand and become Russia’s Amazon.

The Mammoth Pirates
“Ethical Ivory” – as the ivory from mammoth tusks is sometimes referred to as (because it’s already dead) is creating dollar millionaires in some of Siberia’s poorest villages. However, “ethical ivory” is also creating environmental and legal problems in Russia.

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Finance and Investment

Russia Holds Rates Amid Geopolitical Risks, Sees Cuts by Year-End
Facing new U.S. sanctions and a recent spike in food prices, the central bank opted for a cautious no-change decision, even though inflation, its key area of focus, has nearly slowed to its 4 percent target.

A New Social Dimension Is Making Russia, Germany, and India Safer Investments Than the US and Brazil
Opinion: If more unified societies are going to be both more assertive internationally and more resilient domestically in years to come, then it follows they will likely also be better commercial bets than their more fragmented neighbors.

Russia Taps Strong Demand for Emerging Market Debt
More than $17bn-worth of bonds have been issued so far in 2017, exceeding last year’s $15.2bn total.

Russian Central Bank Withdraws License from Top 30 Bank
These measures were applied because of Yugra’s financial uncertainty and threat to interests of its creditors and depositors, according to the regulator.

Russia’s Regions Reach Out for Foreign Investment
The republic of Tatarstan took the top slot, followed by the Sverdlovsk, Belgorod, Novosibirsk and Samara regions.

Russian Fintech Revolution Is Coming
Russians have embraced the new technology, which they don’t view as a threat to traditional banking.

Putin Puts Digital Economy on List of Main Goals of Russia’s Strategic Development
By August 15, the government should create a subcommittee on digital economy.

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Policy and Conflict Post SovietDomestic Politics

Navalny vs. Strelkov Debate. Get Hype!
The closest thing to politics that’s happened in Russia this year.

What We Learned When Alexey Navalny Debated Igor Strelkov
Spoiler alert: the war in Ukraine remains a litmus test for Russian patriotism.

Opposition Figure Navalny Walks Free After 25 Days in Administrative Arrest
On June 13, Moscow’s Simonovsky District Court placed Navalny under a 30-day administrative arrest for organizing an unauthorized opposition rally held on June 12.

Before You Take Up Russian Citizenship, You Need to Take This Oath
The phrase “Russians never surrender and are afraid of nothing,” presented by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, failed to make the cut.

Convicted Nemstov Killers Given Lengthy Prison Terms
Many Kremlin critics and opposition politicians viewed Nemstov as a figure with the experience and skill needed to potentially challenge the Kremlin.

Putin’s Post-Political Government
This year’s Direct Line with Vladimir Putin revealed that politics has been entirely removed from the public sphere in Russia. Government decisions are now made with zero input from the people.

Putin Tightens Control Over Russian Academy of Sciences
The reform proposal has been strongly criticized by the 1st July Club, an informal union of regular and corresponding RAS members named after the day when they first protested in 2013.

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Arts

Je Suis Malobrodsky: Theater, Politics, and Russian Scandal
Navigating Russian fiscal laws is something akin to traversing the woods in a Brothers Grimm fairy tale.

Huge Scandal at the Bolshoi Theater: Nureyev Ballet Is Canceled
Politically motivated’ decision made just 3 days before world premier.

Jon Snow & Company Go Underground in Moscow
On July 18, the Moscow Metro hosted the premiere of Season 7 of “Game of Thrones” in the Mayakovskaya station, which was turned into an underground version of the show’s medieval kingdom for the night.

About the Author

Katheryn Weaver
Katheryn Weaver is a student of rhetoric and history at the University of Texas, Austin. Her primary areas of investigation include revolution and the rhetorical justification of violence against individuals, state, and society. She is currently studying Russian as a Second Language with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship.
Josh Wilson
Josh Wilson is the Assistant Director for The School of Russian and Asian Studies (SRAS) and Communications Director for Alinga Consulting Group. In those capacities, he has been managing publications and informative websites covering geopolitics, history, business, economy, and politics in Eurasia since 2003. He is based in Moscow, Russia. For SRAS, he also assists in program development and leads the Home and Abroad Programs.