(Image: Alexander Petrosyan)

Image: Alexander Petrosyan 

International, More

Edited by: A. N.

There are many ways to measure how bad things are in any country but perhaps the best way to evaluate that is to listen to children who likely will say things that their parents have learned to suppress. This year, Svobodnaya pressa-Yug reports, Russian children are asking Grandfather Frost not for toys but for more practical gifts, including in some instances paying for their visits to the dentist so they can overcome toothaches.

But there are plenty of other indications that Russia’s economic problems are getting worse. Among those reported this week are the following:

  • To save money, Moscow has cut it spending on nationality policy programs by 50 percent
  • It is reducing the number of traffic signs on the streets of major cities
  • Some pensioners are getting IOUs rather than their full pensions
  • Government funding for basic science has been cut for the fourth year in a row
  • Russians are now spending 80 percent of their incomes on necessities
  • Capital flight rose to 5.7 billion US dollars in the last month alone
  • After 100 years of existence, the giant ZIL truck company in Moscow now closed its doors
  • Cutbacks in prisons mean prisoners are dying without getting the medical care they are entitled to
  • The Russian government acknowledges that no one can live on the minimum standard-of-living amount the government itself sets
  • The shadow economy now makes up 22 percent of the Russian GDP
  • People are staying in their apartments even when the walls collapse around them because they have nowhere else to go
  • Not surprisingly, Russians tells pollsters that life is getting worse
  • Experts predict that mental depression is sweeping across Russia
  • Indeed, the situation is now so dire that some Russian State Duma deputies worry that lifting sanctions could make the situation worse
  • Meanwhile, Russians appear to be drinking more vodka – production of that high-test spirit rose 45 percent over the last 12 months
  • To judge from the death toll in Irkutsk – numbering 72 in that city alone – Russians increasingly drink more dangerous alcohol surrogates as well.
Edited by: A. N.

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