Paved roads are non-existent in many Russian provincial cities and towns. (Image: Ilya Varlamov)
According to official statistics, approximately every fourth subject of the Russian Federation has a GDP per capita that puts in on par with third world countries like Sudan, Nigeria, and Guatemala, and all of them are suffering as a result from rising crime and increasing interest in emigration.
Among these failing places, which should be called “zones of national disasters,” the Russian nationalist RNE portal says, are predominantly ethnic Russian areas like Bryansk, Ivanovo, Kirov, and Kurgan oblasts, Stavropol and Transbaikal krays, and non-Russian republics like Altay, Mordvinia, and Buryatia.
Not only is Moscow sucking them dry, but their collapse is contributing to ever larger capital flight. In the first seven months of 2015, net capital flight increased 1.5 times from the same period a year earlier to 13.1 billion US dollars. And over the past year, more than 2,000 “dollar millionaires” moved abroad with their money.
But it is not only the wealthy who are thinking about leaving. Ever more people and especially the young are too, sparking predictions that Russia in the coming years faces its largest emigration in history. Among them are the most educated, something that will cost Russia its future.
The Russian nationalist site argues that the Kremlin “is transforming the entire country into ‘a zone of national disaster.’ By the most optimistic predictions, the Russian Federation will need not less than a decade to compensate for the fall of incomes over the last three years and return at least to the level of 2014.”
But “in reality,” RNE continues, economists say that Russia faces “at a minimum, 20 years of economic stagnation.” Kremlin propagandists argue otherwise, but “the more pragmatic part of the electorate doesn’t believe these promises and is either packing its bags or experiencing ever greater anger as a result of the constantly worsening quality of life.”
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