By Paul Goble
Despite Putin’s upbeat comments, Russians living in the regions are even in the most successful balanced at the edge of survival: with one household in five in 20 percent of the federal subjects now having only enough money for food but for nothing more, according to Moscow experts.
Made responsible for ever more unfunded liabilities, regional government shave have cut their budget deficits by more than 90 percent; but the consequences of that are that the population is suffering even more than would otherwise be the case, Anastasiya Bashkatova writes in Nezavimaya gazeta (ng.ru/economics/2017-06-15/1_7008_regions.html).
Nonetheless, according to Standard&Poor’s, a quarter of Russiaa’s regions are close to bankruptcy and less than a quarter are showing signs of industrial growth, a third growth in agriculture, just over a third in consumer services, just under half in construction, and 61 percent in retail trade, the economics editor says.
Only six show growth on all five of these measures; only 13 more, on four; while in 10 there has been a decline in four or five of them. But even in those subjects doing well, 19 in all, in 12, “many citizens are now literally at the edge of survival,” Bashkatova continues, citing the work of Moscow scholars who have been analyzing Rosstat data.
In addition, an extremely detailed report by the Regnum news agency on the Russian Far East, one of the more depressed regions of the country, again despite Putin’s claims, shows that in that enormous territory, people are suffering and see few prospects for any turn-around (regnum.ru/news/society/2288362.html).