Russia on the Ground – June, 2017

Russia on the Ground
June, 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

Money? Power? World Domination? Poll Reveals What Russians Really Want in Life
Poll: Russians place priority on maintaining their health and family at the expense of careers and social action.

Russian Public Supports Measures to Limit Internet Anonymity
41% support registering the real names of internet users, up from 24% in 2012; 26% currently oppose the plan

Fewer Russians Want to Emigrate, Poll Shows
Seven percent are actively looking for opportunities to emigrate. 1 percent have begun the process of leaving Russia.

Economy

Why is Production of Russian Electronic Devices Returning Home from Asia?
Often, Chinese businessmen are the ones who start production in Russia.

A Vast Blockchain Experiment Could Change Russia
Where will Russia’s next “great leap forward” come from?

Moscow’s English-Language Weekly To Change Hands, Cut Staff
The Moscow Times continues to shrink. After moving from a daily to a glossy weekly version some time ago, it will now move to an all-online publication with an even smaller staff.

Russia: Despite Sanctions, Economic Summit Booms
Western firms, even energy firms, are starting to show interest in Russia again – despite sanctions.

Russia’s Asian Pivot Starts to Pay Off
Russia’s Central Bank reports that direct investment from China in 2015 and 2016 was only $645mn and $350mn respectively. But reports from China say the total was $3bn in 2015 and rose to $14bn in 2016. The reason for the difference is that the Central Bank only accounts for direct transfers from a China-located bank while the China-sourced figures take into account the reports of China investors from all sources.

Продавцы квартир в пятиэтажках под снос повысили цены
Individuals selling apartments that are due to be torn down by the city’s renovation program have added 5-10% to their asking price. The thought is that buying such an apartment could entitle you to a better apartment later…

Foreign Businesses Lack State Guarantees for Investment in Russia
An analysis of the viability of foreign enterprise in Russia.

Russia’s Economy is Recovering
How has the Russian economy weathered Western sanctions?

Behind Brave Face on Sanctions, Russia Is Already Adjusting
While Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina dismissed sanctions as having little impact on Russia, the looming threat of wider measures was probably among the reasons why policy makers opted for a smaller cut in interest rates last week.

Elvira Nabiullina
Elvira Nabiullina, Russia’s Central Bank chief, is the most powerful woman in Russia and has taken on some of Russia’s biggest problems and most powerful men – and come out on top. Check out this profile on GeoHistory to find out more.

Internship in RussiaDomestic Politics

Putin Reportedly Plans to Focus on “Youth Agenda” in Reelection Campaign
“Young people might comes to the polls, or they might stay at home. And it’s unclear who gets their votes,” said Valery Fyodorov, the general director of the VTsIOM polling agency.

Bill Criminalizing Poll Rigging Drafted in State Duma
This is now only an administrative offense, punishable by a fine of 50,000 rubles ($877). The new bill would substantially increase the fine and add possible jail time.

Chechnya’s Anti-gay Pogrom: Too much even for the Kremlin?
“I think this is a good example of how a process gets started through reporting. We published about this, which prodded the rights ombudswoman to go to Mr. Putin with the information, and then it was reported on TV channels. We will only feel satisfied when the people we wrote about are all safe.” – Dmitry Muratov, editor of Novaya Gazeta

Russia’s Muslims Are as Diverse as Their Experiences
Depending on who you ask, Russia is about 10-20% Muslim. Everyone agrees that the percentage is rising. Russia’s native Muslims have larger families than Russia’s Orthodox citizens. A large portion of Russia’s many immigrants come from predominantly Muslim Central Asian states. Russia’s Muslims, like any large population of humans, are very diverse. They range from the almost entirely secular to those holding extreme views. So what does this mean for the state? This article gives a great overview of these issues, based on first-hand experiences and statistics.

Let’s Not Over-hype the Revolt of the “Putin generation” Just Yet
The protests are understandably being depicted as anti-Putin protests given that they were called for by today’s most renowned Kremlin critic, Alexei Navalny. But does this necessarily mean that Russia’s youth is taking to the streets based on values espoused by the west?

Historical Reenactors on Getting Caught in Moscow’s June 12 Anti-corruption Protest
Meduza interviews the reenactors that were affected by the June 12 protests.

What Do the Russia Day Protests Mean for Russia?
SRAS Home and Abroad Scholar Katherine Weaver examines the significance of the latest protests in Russia

Direct Line with Vladimir Putin
An English transcript of the 2017 Direct Line.

Russia’s State Duma Adopts Moscow Housing Renovation Bill
The State Duma adopted a housing renovation bill that will demolish the so-called “Khrushchevki” apartment blocks.

After Moscow Protest Crackdown, Kremlin Critics Question Navalny’s Tactics
Navalny: incendiary or timely?

Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Navalny
“Unfortunately for Navalny, the Russian electorate are not Western audiences, and these stunts are unlikely to work out well for him.”

Kremlin Dismisses Report on Young People as Top Election Theme
What topics will the election campaign cover?

Russian Prosecutor General: More inspections of NGOs that breach legislation
It was suggested “if there is information that they are in breach of any bans and restrictions envisaged by the law.”

Top Pollster Rules out Possibility of Large-scale Youth Protests in Russia
Will order trump chaos?

Nobel Laureate Svetlana Alexievich on her Fears for Russia’s “Collective Putin”
A fairly long profile of Svetlana Alexievich, the Belarussian novelist / oral historian that won the Nobel Prize. She discusses conversations she had with her interviewees, what she’s doing with her Nobel prize money, and her own political views.

Youtube, Rap and Protest: The lives and loves of Russian teenagers
An overview of the new Russian youth. Like all large populations, there is significant diversity within the group. However, according to some recent studies, the traits that win out are: insularity, consumerist, technology-driven, and “they have renounced politics in its official, officious format, but politically they are involved.”

Policy and Conflict Post SovietDaily Life

Is Russia the World’s Heaviest-drinking Country?
On the history of alcohol in Russia.

The Impact of Tensions between the EU and Russia at the People-to-People Level
How have people-to-people relations fared in relation to political cooperation, economics, and security?

250,000 Muslims Flock to Moscow’s Cathedral Mosque for Eid Prayer
Eid Mubarak, Dear Friends!

Russians Cut Down on Smoking and Drinking
The number of Russians who smoke has fallen to just 31%, with a significant portion of the decrease coming from minors who no longer smoke.

Police Search Gogol Theater, Looking for $3.5 Million
Why was Moscow’s renowned Gogol Center searched?

About the Author

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.
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.