March 31, 2024

Russian Prosperity is Good News for Putin


Russian Prosperity is Good News for Putin
Moscow, the possibly surprising most prosperous part of Russia. The Russian Life files.

A recent study of prosperity in Russian regions, done by civil society groups in collaboration with state news agency Izvestia, holds some surprises. And they could indicate why Putin's support is unflagging.

The index of social well-being, which takes into account poverty rate, average salaries, and cost of living, places Moscow at the top: it's an expensive place to live, but higher salaries make up for it. Also among the top five? The less well-known Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Chukotka, and Nenets Autonomous Okrug.

These regions are northerly petroleum exporters, meaning they likely have good jobs and a low cost of living.

St. Petersburg, Russia's second city, is tied for ninth place with Sakhalin Island.

The social scientists behind the ranking said that the poverty rate in Russia decreased in 2023, and that the nation is generally prosperous. Reflecting this, Russian citizens have a generally upbeat attitude towards the economy.

This is, of course, despite Russia's ongoing conflict with Ukraine and the consequences of international isolation. And it could reveal how Putin garnered 87 percent of the vote in recent presidential elections (besides plain old fraud): if people are optimistic about their financial prospects, they're less likely to dissent.

Of course, this is a state-funded study published by a state-funded newspaper, so we should also take it with a grain of salt.

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