Russia on the Ground – October, 2016

Debt in Russia's regions poses a threat to its current federal structure.

Russia on the Ground
October, 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

Russians Gather to Memorialize Stalin’s Victims
Every year on Oct. 29, Moscow residents line up for the microphone for hours to take part in “The Return of the Names,” a memorial event to honor the victims of Stalin’s repressions.

Russia’s Dissenters Choose Passive Resistance
Voters are turning away from society’s truths towards private pursuits.

Top Official Denies Plans to Revive KGB
Sergei Ivanov gave this interview, in Russian, to Komsomolskaya Pravda and discribes recent reports of KGB revival, his own “demotion” and other issues.

Moscow Authorities Seal Amnesty International Office
The Moscow Department of Urban Property seized Amnesty International’s office on Nov. 2 for allegedly not paying its rent.

Putin Orders Law on Russian Nation to Counter Ethnic Strife
80 percent of citizens consider relations between Russia’s various ethnic groups friendly or normal – up from just 55 percent a few years ago.

Public Opinion

Poll: Nearly Half of Russians Fear Syria Conflict could Lead to World War III
Over half of Russians polled say they support Moscow’s air strikes in Syria.

Why More than Half of Russians Miss the Soviet Union
Sociologists say the attitudes are a reflection of today’s economic challenges and the mythologization of the USSR in pop culture.

Poll: Russian Majority Believes Shadow Economy Not Bad
34.5 percent of respondents believe the shadow economy is more beneficial than harmful, and 38.3 percent are inclined to think that it brings both benefit and harm equally.

Poll: Russians’ Trust in Government Sinks to 5-year Low
The State Duma’s support fell from 40 to 22 percent in five years; the Federation Council fell from 40 to 24 percent. President Putin remained relatively steady at 74 percent (down from 80 percent in 2015). 60% have strong trust in Russia’s military and 46 percent trust the state security services.

National Defense is Top Priority for Half of All Russians, Poll Shows
The share of Russians who think that the threat of foreign invasion to the country is real increased to 65 percent – up from 56 percent two years ago.

Poll Reveals One in Three Russians Believe in Witchcraft
Some 27% of those polled said they had seen manifestations of witchcraft with their own eyes.


Labor Conflicts in Russia Almost Double
There were 544 recorded incidents of labor conflicts throughout 78 Russian regions, mostly concerning wage arrears. The conflicts, however, have remained local and focused on specific incidents.

Wheat from Chaff: Russia’s Going Agro
Russia as oil and gas behemoth dominates headlines but the country has become an agricultural superpower whose agricultural exports now vie with military arms for the distinction of Russia’s second-largest export.

Russia Shifts Focus From Oil To Agriculture
Even though Russia has pulled ahead of the United States for wheat exports, the country’s farms are still years behind in regard to equipment.

Russian Economy Unlikely to Grow More than 1.5% Annually
This is the Ministry of Finance’s calculation for the medium term.

Russia Ramps Up Oil Output for 2016-2017
Russian oil production is expected to reach 547 million tonnes this year (10.95 million barrels per day), rising to 548 million tonnes in 2017.

How Long Until Russia’s Financial Reserves Run Out?
Cuts are not as bad as they seem and Russia’s reserve systems have inputs as well as outputs.

Russian Regions Seek Investment from SCO Countries
Russia’s regions are getting direct investment from China, Kazakhstan, Iran, and others.

Russia’s Widening Income Gaps Pose Risks to Central Bank
The central bank has warned that its ability to steer inflation is at risk from growing wealth inequality and the disappearance of the middle-income households that are the most sensitive to interest rates and prices.

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.