Ten pieces of bad economic news from Russia in last 24 hours alone


International, More

While the attention of Russians and others around the world have been diverted – and one should ask be asking what they have been diverted from and why – ten pieces of bad even disastrous economic news have come out from or about Russia in the last 24 hours alone.

Here is the list:

  1. The World Bank says that Moscow now lacks the money to fulfill its social contract with the Russian people.
  2. Moscow’s Higher School of Economics says that the real incomes of Russians fell for the 25th straight month.
  3. Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets says almost 5 million Russians are receiving salaries below the minimum wage in Russia, which is about 30 percent below the official subsistence minimum.
  4. More than 1.5 million highly qualified Russians are now working abroad, while the influx of undereducated and poorly trained gastarbeiters is slowing Russia’s economic development, according to Russian government officials.
  5. Ten percent of Russians are again receiving at least part of their pay under the table, meaning that it is not taxed and that it will not be used for calculating their pensions.
  6. Given falling incomes, Russians are drinking, eating and traveling less, substituting potatoes for meat and fish and having consumption patterns that compare unfavorably with urban Russians at the end of the tsarist period more than one hundred years.
  7. Half of Russians don’t have any savings and a third don’t have any credit cards.
  8. Putin wants to cut vodka prices but the finance ministry wants to boost them – and new data show that they are going up.
  9. Those serving in the military are told they will go to the head of the line as far as receiving unemployment benefits when they return to the private sector, hardly a great advertisement for how their efforts are raising Russia from its knees.
  10. Russian officials and experts are now openly discussing how the country will cope when its reserve fund runs out, likely later this year after a serious collapse in its balance over the last one.

But perhaps the worst news of all is yet another report today: new surveys show that despite how bad things are getting, Russians are living up to Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s dictum that human beings are not pigs and can get used to anything by saying that they can cope with the situation.

One reason that Russians may be saying that is that they are focusing on other things, such as Putin’s “victory” in Syria or the stories about Donald Trump. To the extent that is the case, Russians and the rest of us can see more such provocations by the Kremlin dictator in the weeks ahead.


Edited by: A. N.

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  1. Avatar Mykola Banderachuk says:

    for sure this is great news, before you know it the only jobs left in the russia will be keyboarding jobs at troll centre in st petersburg.

    1. Avatar Dagwood Bumstead says:

      You jest! The trolls will be sacked when the money runs out- the dwarf won’t be able to afford the 2 litres of the cheapest rotgut samogon they get for their 12-hour troll shifts. First, this will be cut to one litre; then the trolls will be paid in Krokodil. And when even Krokodil becomes too expensive for the dwarf, they will be sacked with no prospects for any kind of job.
      Putting “I was a Savushkina troll” on one’s resumé won’t cut any ice with serious employers. Furthermore, Dwarfstanian employers know that Savushkina trolls have been lobotomised (job requirement), so their intelligence is way below what’s half-decent (not that it was all that great to begin with). The brain damage caused by quaffing the dwarf’s rotgut samogon doesn’t help either.

  2. Avatar Dirk Smith says:

    Great news for the civilized world! Now we’ll see if the mongols are half as brave as the Ukrainians and throw out their respective criminals; probably not though. A nation of cowards.

    1. Avatar Tony says:

      As always, they will just blame the US and subscribe to conspiracy theories. They are mentally bankrupt at every generation, no hope for improvement in the next 100 years.

  3. Avatar Eolone says:

    First item on the list: Russia “now” lacks the funds to fulfill its social contract. For years the Moscow to Spb highway has suffered. What is the average axle replacement for trucks moving between the two cities?

    Item 4: Where are the new guest workers coming from? Many were chased away from the jobs they had in Russia.

    Item 10: It would seem that more paper money will be printed to offset funds depletion, creating higher inflation in the process. Putin can choose whether he prefers Russians upset by lack of money or by money continuously being eaten up by inflation.

    The Russia Left Behind, from 2013, is a remarkable piece. The link: The Russia Left Behind – The New York Times

    1. Avatar WisconsinUSA says:

      I will read that soon. Thank you.

      1. Avatar Turtler says:

        @Eolone What you said. It is damning.

        In case anyone hasn’t found it, I’ll do the public service and link it here.


        I didn’t spend much of my time in Russia outside of the cities, but what little I did more than supports it. it is damning.

  4. Avatar veth says:

    Russian Ministry of Defence offices in Siberia are closed of for electricity..the bills were not paid for months…………..hahahaha

  5. Avatar Murf says:

    They left out the part where the Russian 2017 budget will begin tapping the Pension Fund to the tune of 250+ million this year.
    Music, sweet music.

    1. Avatar Dagwood Bumstead says:

      The Reserve Fund will be running on fumes by July. After that the Welfare Fund, which is meant to cover pensions etc, will be raided. Dwarfstanian pensioners wil love it when Medvedev starts travelling around the country to tell them “There’s just no money. Hang on in there. All the best!” and that they can kiss their pensions goodbye………… NOT!!!!!

  6. Avatar Oknemfrod says:

    >Russians are drinking, eating and traveling less<

    One particular item in this list, "drinking", stands out as extremely unlikely, particularly in light of the recent Russian infatuation with drinking the infamous bathtub lotion based on hawthorn ("boyaryshnik") tincture. Unless, of course, "drinking" implies, not swilling lowest-quality vodka or generally any liquid-state substance to get stoned and abstracted from the surrounding reality, but consuming beverages not doing irreversible harm to the body, e.g. is, high-quality beer, wine, and spirits in moderate quantities.

    To get a glimpse of how far Russians would go to keep swilling booze against all and any financial odds, it's enough to look back at their Soviet days. Then, to buy a 0.5L bottle of horrible state-produced vodka (claimed to have been distilled out of quality grain but in fact manufactured using alcohol derived from oil), one needed to spend money equal to the average pre-tax daily salary of an engineer.
    That would be analogous to a US engineer, now, buying a standard 0.75L of cheapest swill for $1000, and any sane person would first condemn himself to a cuckoo nest before doing anything of the kind.
    And yet, not only the Russians in fact did it at the time all the time, but whenever a liquor store was out of stock, once a word was passed that the supply had been replenished, they would take the store by storm, climbing over each other's head (quite literally) to get the covered bottle before the store would sure as he11 run out of stock again.
    Fast forward to now, the Russian drinking proclivities, save for a minutest percentage of some educated urbanites, haven't changed an iota, and so haven't the lengths to which they would go to procure alcohol in one form or another. In fact, if the "boyaryshnik" story is any indication, the matters have gotten worse, for most of the people poisoned in Irkustk by the stuff they knew full well they shouldn't ingest, weren't some bums but teachers, nurses, and doctors (sic!).

    1. Avatar Dagwood Bumstead says:

      Don’t Dwarfstanian women on average drink far less than the men? At least the women seem to have far more sense in that respect than the “men”.

      The old saying “Strong drink makes weak men” is a very true one.

      1. Avatar Oknemfrod says:

        Yes and yes.

  7. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

    Putin wants to cut vodka prices? No wonder his approval rating is 110%. More vodka means less ruSSians in future as they pickle themselves in the unhealthy joy juice, so in this case I find myself agreeing with the policy.

    1. Avatar Scradje says:

      Scientific definition of a putler vatnyk: a simple machine for converting vodka into p#$$.

  8. Avatar Alex George says:

    “One reason that Russians may be saying that is that they are focusing on other things, such as Putin’s “victory” in Syria or the stories about Donald Trump. To the extent that is the case, Russians and the rest of us can see more such provocations by the Kremlin dictator in the weeks ahead.”

    Sure, which is somewhat of a problem. But in the long run, its better for everybody. The more that the Russian government ruins Russia without protest from its people, the less capacity Russia will have to wage aggression against its neighbours in the future .

    Just run it into the ground.