Russians say international isolation is fine, but lower incomes and loss of Internet access aren’t

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2015/01/29 - 13:55 • Russia

According to a new study conducted by the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russians are “prepared for economic isolation from the West but are against lower incomes, higher taxes,” or being cut off from access to the Internet, “Nezavisimaya gazeta” reports today.

Mikhail Sergeyev, that paper’s chief economics reporter, says that the study shows that the majority of Russian citizens are ready to give up using foreign currency, making trips abroad, using bank cards, and purchasing foreign goods and that they expect they may have to for a lengthy period.

The study suggests that only the very top of society has been much affected by sanctions but that most Russians have been touched by changes in the exchange rate which have sparked inflation and forced Russians to cut back in their spending on recreation, food, clothing, and medicines but led others to purchase goods out of fear that prices will rise still further.

The only exception to this list of self-imposed limitations concerns the Internet and social networks. Nearly half say that they are not prepared to stop using the web, although a majority indicates that it is willing to live with some restrictions. Twenty-two percent of the sample said they don’t use the Internet now, and 37 percent said they would be willing to stop using it.

Moreover, the study found that Russians are very much opposed to any decline in their incomes and benefits or any increase in taxes and fees. Fewer than one in eight supports such ideas. Russians overwhelmingly support their government in its struggle with the West, but they oppose “attempts by bureaucrats to shift budgetary problems onto the shoulders of citizens.”

“Almost half of the respondents, Institute director Mikhail Gorshkov said, “agree that the country faces difficult times ahead,” although a quarter say that “the country is developing successfully,” and another quarter say that they do not expect “any significant changes in the development of the country.”

Gorshkov stressed that over the last year there has been a fundamental shift in Russian assessments of the source of threats to Russia. A year ago, he says, most viewed any threats as being internal, but now they view them as coming from abroad, with only 18 percent saying there are threats from within the country.

The study suggests that only the very top of society has been much affected by sanctions but that most Russians have been touched by changes in the exchange rate which have sparked inflation and forced Russians to cut back in their spending on recreation, food, clothing, and medicines but led others to purchase goods out of fear that prices will rise still further.

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  • Jacques

    So, what are we waiting for? Let’s cut them off the Internet!

    • Patrick Lundström

      It would be so nice to get rid of all the FSB trolls…

      • LorCanada

        Re: Getting rid of russkie trolls —
        Quite true but then they wouldn’t get their free lunch, I suppose.

        • Mephisto

          I hope they get paid in rubbles.

          • Milton Devonair

            too bad more russians don’t get paid in hot lead and copper. 😉

    • LorCanada

      Isn’t that what Putin is doing already? Restricting internet use to mainly his faithful hacksters who have unlimited access while the general public will face certain restrictions.

    • Jacks Channel

      It might be the best thing for them. I heard that one of their lawmakers is considering declaring the re-unification of Germany an illegal act.

      http://uatoday.tv/society/russian-lawmaker-proposes-to-call-german-reunification-illegal-405871.html

  • Joni Pelkonen

    This is only the beginning of Russia’s monetary problems. Such problems tend to accumulate with time unless mended. Come next winter, there will be people who starve.

  • Lord Lucan

    I don’t think they realise how serious things could get for them. Oddly they appear to want to put up with hopping around on one leg because we took away one shoe. It’s like dealing with a child who holds its breath to piss you off.

    • evanlarkspur

      Exactly. Good analogy.

  • LorCanada

    It’s easier for the Russians to play the victim card instead of taking responsibility for their actions, but in time they’ll realize the consequences of where Pootie is leading them and I doubt it’s to the altar of the glorious Soviet Empire which, by the way, collapsed over 23 years ago. So that idea can be chucked out. What’s left? They don’t really know, I’d say.
    These easily-led people live in a dream, a state of wishful thinking with no clear end in mind. Total reliance on gas/oil is fatal to their economy but what are they doing about it? Not much.
    Once the personal sacrifices become too burdensome for ordinary Russians they will finally start to reconsider their blind allegiance to a Mafia Putin and his wealthy cronies; they’ll see them for what they are – robbers of Russia’s wealth, and in the case of Putin, Russia becomes a cash cow for his personal ambitions: war games at 32% of their economy.

  • Dirk Smith

    I’m sure “studies” and/or “polls” from Russia are about as credible as the KGB dwarf. LOL.

  • LorCanada

    Regarding the study suggesting only top echelon of society is affected by sanctions, that may be true, but to suggest most Russians are affected by exchange rates which force them to cut back on the usual necessities of life, medicines, etc., — well, this leaves out the struggling russkies at the bottom. They try to sell off many of their possessions from clothing to odds and ends in hopes of collecting a bit of cash. For this they have a local outdoor gathering even in winter, in one instance, -10 degrees, (Fahr., I presume). Let’s not forget the ones facing poverty and deprivation.

  • StumpedNoMore2

    Since S&P downgraded their credit rating to junk, the rubble has dropped to 69 to 1 US dollar. Recently, I have read that they have made cuts to their budget due to the falling oil prices. With the cuts in spending from the government and from private enterprises, this will accelerate the decline in economic activity. There will be more layoffs just like Carlsberg closing two Russian plants yesterday.

    Look, it is not a good thing to see people suffer. The Russians have chosen their bed when they chose to stay Putin. The further this conflict lingers on, the more likely it will look like 1991 and 1998.

    • David Porter

      44.23oil still coming down looks like it may enter the 30.’s soon!

      • StumpedNoMore2

        Yeah. I don’t know where it will end up. The world economy is at a stand still at the moment beside the US of course. This is why Putin is intensifying his terror on the Ukrainian people because he can feel the pressure building up on him. The longer this conflict drags out, the more pressure it will build up. At the moment, we are already seeing plants being closed and slowdown in economic activities. He is running out of time and wants to end it soon.

    • Brent

      But some of the best news was Russia announcing cutbacks to their state controlled media and RT announced plans to delay opening up their bureaus in Germany and France.

      http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/pro-kremlin-media-sees-cuts-as-russian-economy-slows/514846.html

      http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-01-23/putin-s-propaganda-industry-tightens-its-belt

      I’m sure even the trolls will be asked to take a cutback in the number of cabbages they get…

      • StumpedNoMore2

        It is the beginning of an economic hard time for them. It is finally catching up to them. I have exactly seen smaller number of FSB trolls lately.

  • Mephisto

    brainwashed idiots. The inteligentsia left the country long ago and people like Kasparov have been made into public enemies by the proletariat

    • StumpedNoMore2

      Totally agreed. There is a big brain drain in that country. The smart ones are either house arrested, ostracized, locked up, etc. Putin is controlling all the narrative and he is raising nationalism in that country to an alarming level.

  • Brent

    It’s just a matter of time
    >interest rates went up to 17+% in December
    >inflation is 10+%
    >’rubble’ is worth 40-50% less so their buying power for Western goods (which they still need) is less.

    These are the trigger points that will cause lower incomes and higher taxes. Putin already was raiding the pension fund to subsidize Crimea. Russians will be in for tough financial times, so it that is the trigger, Putin will be in trouble soon.

    Sadly, in the meantime Putin and his terrorists will keep killing innocent Ukrainians until the imminent collapse and revolt happens because our Western leaders are not doing much to try to stop him.

  • Czech Friend

    Let’s see how that works for real. Enough with words, time for the action!

  • Mazepa

    Mockali have never based their opinions and motivations on facts and reality. They prefer to live under a dictatorship, since it prevents any need for them to develop the capacity to ‘think’. These katzapy are the only animals on this planet that have rarely used their brains – except to say ‘yes’ to the next dictator.
    Yes, the truth hurts…
    Smert mockalyam.
    Guaranteed.

  • Murf

    In other words they like the idea of being cut off from the west, just not the reality.
    A reoccurring theme through out Russian history.
    They really need to make up the dang minds.

  • Jacks Channel

    What I do not understand is this. These Facist Nazi Ukrainians in Kyiv and in Ukrainian society. Where are they? If this Nazism existed on the scale Putin said it does, where is it?

    I am being serious. This kind of National Nazism would be so obvious, news channels and the internet would be flooded with so much evidence it would be overwhelming.