Russia on the Ground – October 2019

This 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.



Xenophobia Is Still On the Rise in Russia
Anti-migrant attitudes have risen for a second consecutive year in Russia, according to a new independent survey’s results that experts link to the country’s economic woes.


30 years after fall of Berlin Wall Pew poll finds progress but a values fault line lies across Europe
Life is better in CEE after the fall of the Berlin Wall, but some countries are finding the transition harder than others.

Russians Feel More Positive Toward Ukraine Since Zelenskiy’s Election
Russian attitudes toward Ukraine have improved since the beginning of the year thanks to the election of Volodymyr Zelenskiy as Ukraine’s president.

How Tolerant Is Russian Society?
Analysis of statistical data shows that, on the whole, the positive trend in the de-radicalization of Russian society is likely to continue.



Russians drinking less, living longer, WHO says
Russia remains a nation of heavy drinkers, but alcohol consumption has fallen 43 percent from 2003 to 2016, a key factor in the country’s rapid rise in life expectancy.

Russia’s ‘Core’ Middle Class Shrinks to 10M
Only 10.3 million people in Russia can be fully considered as members of the middle class.

Russia Named World’s Most Unequal Economy
Russia has the world’s highest levels of wealth inequality, surpassing the United States and China.

How much have Russians actually changed in 10 years?
One thing’s clear – they started to travel more and opt for a more healthy lifestyle.

Stroke deaths halved in Russia during the past decade
The so-called inter-district and inter-municipal centers for saving lives during life-threatening conditions have been created from scratch

Putin Gives Russian Passports to Old Believers in U.S., Brazil
President Vladimir Putin has granted Russian citizenship to eight leaders of Old Believer communities in the United States and Brazil who are planning to move back to their motherland

Young Russians Are Taking Care of Their Mental and Physical Health
Post-Soviet generations take cues from the West instead of their parents.



Gulf Monarchies Are Buying Into Russia’s Trash Revolution
After decades of dumping trash in landfills across the country, Russia is plotting a waste-disposal revolution that its “rubbish czar” compares to the Bolshevik transformation of the nation with electricity after the 1917 takeover.

Russia’s Thawing Permafrost May Cost Economy $2.3 Billion a Year
Russia plans to pay more attention to the impact climate change is having on its vast permafrost area.

How Russia Stands To Change With The Climate
Growing up in Russia during the last century, people thought they could count on a couple of certainties: the communists would be running the country, and it would be really cold in the winter. The first one turned out to be wrong. The second may yet.



Big growth in Russian Arctic ports
More Arctic shipping means more load for regional seaports.



Russia’s Biggest Companies Account for More Than 80% of GDP
The RBC 500 shows concentration increased at the top in 2018.

Russia Offers Simplified E-Visas to Visitors of St. Petersburg
Tourists and businesspeople from 53 countries will be able to visit St. Petersburg on a simplified electronic visa starting this fall under President Vladimir Putin’s new orders.

Cashless transactions in Russia soar 30-fold from 2010 to 2018
The number of cashless transactions in Russia soared 30-fold from 5.8 to 172 on average per person between 2010 and 2018.

Russia Displays a Two-Track Economy
The Russian economy is both growing and declining, depending on whether you look at domestic or global statistics.

Russian ministry names risk of possible economic stagnation in the country
Russia’s economy will demonstrate stagnation if global economic growth rates slide below 2%

World Bank Cuts Russian Growth Forecast
Economy expected to expand by just 1% in 2019 amid weak investment, low consumer confidence and international sanctions.

    – Business

Russia Has More New Malls Than Anywhere Else in Europe
Study finds new shopping space opening despite a squeeze in living standards.

Russian taxi market seen growing 6% to $11bn in 2019
Russia’s entire urban transportation market (taxi, carsharing, carpooling, etc) could reach RUB2 trillion ($32bn) by 2025.

Aeroflot’s lowcoster Pobeda, fastest growing but could hike prices on flights to Russia
Russia’s lowcost Pobeda airline will see passengers grow by a third this winter and wants to boost prices on international routes

Renewables Drive Accelerates as Enel Russia Sells its Largest Coal Power Station
The sale could be a turning point for Russia’s utilities sector as companies respond to environmental concerns of the government and investors.

These countries are the biggest investors in Russia
Despite the negative impact the Western sanctions have had, the majority of foreign investors are actually noticing an improvement in the Russian business climate.



United Russia Officials Meddled in St. Petersburg Vote, Top Election Official Says
Top members of the ruling United Russia party in St. Petersburg meddled in the city’s municipal elections earlier this month.


Civil Society

Russia’s North Rallies Against Dump for Moscow’s Trash Exports
Around 2,000 people have staged an authorized protest in the northern Russian city of Arkhangelsk on Sunday demanding the government drop plans to create a giant landfill in the remote Shiyes railway station.

A corner of Moscow fights to keep history from being built over, literally
or the past two decades, the technocratic leadership of Moscow has remade the face of the city under development priorities set by a partnership between big business and the authorities.

Moscow police to sue Navalny, his allies for nearly $300,000 over rallies
The Interior Ministry’s Main Department has filed two lawsuits over the July 27 and August 3 rallies in Moscow

Russia’s Anti-Corruption Foundation to appeal decision to place it on foreign agents list
Earlier, the foundation’s director Ivan Zhdanov noted that it is financed solely by Russian citizens

State symbols disrespecting information removed from 79 websitesPolicy and Conflict Post Soviet
Information showing disrespect to Russia, its society and official state symbols has been deleted from 79 websites, according to a statement released by the communications watchdog Roskomnadzor.

Reshuffles affect Russia’s HRC strongly
The work of the Russian Presidential Human Rights Council (HRC) will change following the dismissal of Mikhail Fedotov as its chair and excluding Yevgeny Bobrov, Yekaterina Shulman, Ilya Shablinsky, and Pavel Chikov from the HRC.

On This Day Victims of Political Repressions Are Honored
The day was declared by political prisoners in 1974.

First fines imposed for fake news distribution in Russia
A Moscow magistrate court for the first time in Russia imposed fines on a media outlet and its editor-in-chief for distribution of fake news.



150,000 March in St. Petersburg Cross Procession
In the northern Russian capital of St. Petersburg, two cross processions took place yesterday to commemorate the transfer of the relics of St. Alexander Nevsky, with over 150,000 people participating.

Monument to Yevgeny Primakov unveiled in Moscow
Vladimir Putin took part in the unveiling of a monument to Yevgeny Primakov in the park square near the Foreign Ministry.

Only 3% of Russians plan to celebrate Halloween
According to the survey, the growing number of Russians believe that this holiday is extrinsic to Russian culture and tradition

About the Author

Tanya Tanyarattinan

Tanya Tanyarattinan is a third-year, Thai international student at the University of Denver, double majoring in International Studies and Economics with minors in Russian and Japanese. She is currently studying Society, Business, and the Arts in St Petersburg with SRAS’s Home and Abroad Scholarship. With an interest in pursuing a career in politics, she travels to see how the world works from different perspectives. Her next stop is Berlin where she will complete her study abroad year. In her free time, she likes to play games and try new food.