Russia on the Ground – November, 2016

Russia's economy minister was arrested

Russia on the Ground
November, 2016

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.


Domestic Politics

Russia’s Economic Development Minister Faces Corruption Allegations
Many analysts say the case shows tension at the top of Putin’s government between liberal (Ulyukayev) and conservative (Igor Sechin, head of Rosneft) factions.

Experts Puzzled by Bribery Charges against Economy Minister Ulyukayev
Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev has been accused of extorting $2 million for a deal between oil companies Rosneft and Bashneft.

Head of Russian Postal Service Investigated Over Massive Illegal Bonus
The Russian Postal Service announced that Dmitry Strashnov had been awarded a bonus of 95 million rubles. Strashnov’s salary, taking into account state secrets and not including holiday pay, is officially set at 460,500 rubles a month ($85,000 a year).

More Officials Detained in Nationwide Anti-corruption Drive
The Federal Security Service has arrested two deputies to the governor of central Russia’s Kemerovo Region, Aleksey Ivanov and Aleksandr Danilchenko, on charges of extorting a 51-percent stake in a coal mining company from a local businessman.

Putin Appoints New Russian Economy Minister
The new minister was born in 1982 in Moscow. He graduated from one of Russia’s leading institutes – the Higher School of Economics – in 2004 and worked in several major banks, both Russian- and foreign-owned.

Levada Center Loses Court Bid
A district court in Moscow has rejected a lawsuit by NGO the Levada Center, which had sought to cancel its inclusion in the register of ‘foreign agents’ – groups engaged in politics that receive sponsorship from foreign organizations and individuals.

How Russian State Patriotism Destroyed the Far Right
The Kremlin’s intervention in the Ukraine conflict has fragmented Russian nationalist groups.

Inside Russia’s Beleaguered Vocational Education Sector
How are Russia’s ongoing major educational reforms affecting its vocational colleges?

Internship in RussiaEconomy

Russia Blocks LinkedIn After Court Ruling
LinkedIn, which will soon be bought by Microsoft, is to be blocked in Russia after a local court ruled on Thursday that it had breached the country’s data protection rules.

No Major Impact of Import Substitution – World Bank
According to the World Bank, over recent years, Russia has accomplished many positive changes across multiple areas of business regulation, helping improve its investment climate.

Russia’s Boom (Farming) Economy
The Kremlin claims it has won the sanctions war with the West — and points to the good news coming out of its agriculture sector. It is half right.

Cheapest Labor Since Tsars Ruled Russia a Draw for Samsung, Ikea
Made in Russia and coming soon to a store shelf near you: washing machines, chewing gum and possibly much else.

Big Western Companies Are Pumping Cash Into Russia
Big retailers like Sweden’s Ikea Group and France’s Leroy Merlin SA have begun pumping billions of dollars in new stores and factories, counting on Russia’s consumers to start emerging from hibernation after two years of recession.

Smaller Decline In Russian Economy Suggests Recession Is Waning
The Russian central bank said on November 14 that it expected the economy to return to meager growth of between 0.2 to 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter.

Russian Social Stratification Widens
According to official forecasts, the welfare of the population will recover only in 2018 – at the same time, the authorities will seriously start thinking about raising the retirement age and taxes.

Russia Sees Oil Markets Woes For Another 3 Years
Chairperson of Russia’s Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina said on Monday the probability of another drastic collapse in oil prices is low, though recovery won’t be substantially above current rates.

Russia May Loosen Purse Strings for Election
Wage increases for public sector workers and military personnel, to ensure they turn out to vote for the Kremlin’s candidate, could be a particular threat to budget targets.

Net Capital Outflow from Russia Drops Significantly
Net capital outflow from Russia in the period of January-October 2016 declined to only $10.4 billion.

Half of Russians at Risk of Poverty, Says World Bank
Some 21.4 million people — or 14.6 percent of the population — fell below Russia’s national poverty line in the first half of 2016.

Public Opinion

“Happiness Gap” Between Post-Soviet Countries and West Has Finally Closed
Transitioning from a centrally-controlled economy to one based on market forces was meant, ultimately, to improve the quality of life for people living in the former Soviet Union. And it did. It just took a really, really long time.

Putin Approval Rating at 4-year High of 86%
Only 14% said they disapproved of the president and 1% were not sure.

Two-thirds of Russians want Putin to Remain President after 2018
The Levada independent research center reported on Tuesday that in October this year the share of Russians who said that they would prefer Putin to remain president for another term was 63 percent.

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.