Pension reform, the fall of the ruble, the sanctions, the continuing conflict with the West and the government’s plans to raise taxes after the record in the 21st century of falling real incomes has undermined the faith of Russians in the prospects of the country.
At the end of the second quarter of every second Russian (50%) believed that the worst times for the country ahead, reported in “Monitoring the social well-being” of the HSE.
In modern history Russia is more pessimistic pollsters recorded only in winter 2016 at the peak of the crisis with the ruble’s collapse to 86 per dollar in the first half of the 1990s.
So, in 1996 and 1994, the deterioration was waiting for 52% and in the period from 1991 to 1993, the proportion reached 60% and above.
For six months, the number of pessimists has jumped 1.5 times in winter the degradation of the situation in the economy expected 37%, and last year their share fluctuated between 38% and 44%.
At the same time fell sharply, the number who believed that the economic crisis is overcome: if in January, 32% of Russians answered that “the worst is behind us”, in the summer they remained at 23%.
The composite index of social optimism, with minus 23 points early in the year fell to minus 38 in April, and by the end of the second quarter slumped to minus 43, having at least 2 years.
The rate at which collapsed in optimistic mood – 20 points 4 months – was unprecedented in 2014.
“The negative dynamics of social attitudes in 2018 have identified several events. First of all, public opinion was influenced by the government Declaration of unpopular reforms: raising taxes, changing the terms of pensions. In addition, at the beginning of summer the citizens have faced price hike, which is due to low inflation last time was very sharp” – experts of the higher school of Economics.
All of this is superimposed on and has not overcome the crisis in their wallets: although real wages according to official statistics, grew by 2% higher than 2014, overall income in real terms remains 10.1% below the pre-crisis period.
Affected by a sharp drop in income of entrepreneurs and recipients of social benefits.
Thus, the share of income from business activity in total revenues was 7.1%, which “corresponds to the zone of minimum values for this indicator” indicate in the HSE. Pensions in real terms do not reach the levels of 2014 to 7.5% due to the failure of the government to index payments to working pensioners, of which about 25%.
The proportion of Russians assessing their financial situation as “bad or very bad” has declined from 25% in the beginning of the year to 23% to the middle.
But it may be the result of a “revision of consumer preferences and living standards”, according to the HSE: part of the previous costs in the new economic conditions, the population can be regarded as redundant.
“What happened in the late spring and early summer of 2018, the price hike and announced government plans to reform the economy, unpopular among the population, weakened the optimism of the Russians, which started to grow with an increase in income in the period of the election campaign,” conclude the authors of the report.
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