The Center for Research and Advanced Studies “Future” published an article by Yulia Troitskaya, which states that “the citizens of Russia are experiencing difficulties, which they have not previously encountered, in determining their expectations for the new year, as they are still trying to adapt to new changes, and seek to improve their living conditions, since Russians are mainly focused on their living conditions and overcoming the fears that the new year brings to them.
Titled “Cautious Adaptation… Russians’ Expectations and Fears in 2023,” the article deals with a set of axes, primarily “absorbing economic shocks” and “adapting to new normals,” before highlighting the six government challenges presented. in “transferring the key factors of cooperation with partners to a new level”, “strengthening technological sovereignty”, “ensuring the financial sovereignty of the country”, “advanced development of infrastructure”, “reducing poverty and increasing incomes of the population”, as well as “protecting motherhood and childhood and supporting families”.
This is the text of the article:
It is harder than ever for the citizens of Russia to articulate their expectations for the new year. Before they shed the burden left by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, last year (2022) they faced unprecedented challenges as a result of Russian military operations in Ukraine and subsequent sanctions imposed by the West on Russia, which placed a heavy burden on the Russian economy as a whole and on other sides. Several lives of citizens. In light of these exceptional challenges, citizens continue to struggle to adjust to the ongoing changes and strive to improve their living conditions as the focus of Russians is on their living conditions and overcoming the fears that the new year brings.
absorb economic shocks
Although the Russian economy began to recover and revive, since mid-2021, after the Corona pandemic, it is now difficult to talk about the stability of the economic situation. For example, Russia’s gross domestic product increased by 3.5 percent in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the first quarter of 2021, but decreased by 19.2 percent compared to the last quarter of 2021.
The situation was no better with regard to the real incomes of citizens (i.e., incomes after payment of obligatory payments). According to Rosstat, the real income of citizens in the first quarter of 2022 decreased by 1.2 percent.
In the remaining months of 2022, the Russian economy came under the influence of unprecedented sanctions imposed by the West on Russia in connection with a special military operation in Ukraine that began on November 24, 2022.
While the rate of revenue decline slowed in the second quarter of the year, falling by only 0.8 percent, it accelerated again in the third quarter of the year. In general, from January to September 2022, the real incomes of Russian citizens decreased by 1.7 percent compared to the same period last year. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Economic Development expects a decrease in real incomes of citizens of the Russian Federation by 2.2 percent in 2022, followed by a growth of 1.6 percent in 2023.
It is noteworthy that in the structure of real incomes, the share of income from wages and social benefits decreased, while income from commercial activities, property, etc. increased. the significant impact of inflationary adaptation of the economy to sanctions pressure”, in particular, the disruption of supply chains and the suspension of the work of a number of large foreign companies in Russia.
Adapting to the “new normal”
Tough Western sanctions, which covered almost all sectors of the Russian economy, and all aspects of the country’s life, caused the formation of a new reality, as the trade exchange of the Russian Federation with a large number of large trading partners, such as Germany and other European countries, stopped. In addition, the sanctions have tightened a stranglehold on Russia’s economic relations with a large number of countries around the world, who fear that they, in turn, will be subject to some kind of punitive measures if these sanctions are violated. In general, it can be said that these sanctions affected Russia’s economic and commercial cooperation with most of the former trading partners, as well as the movement of production within the country, especially in industries and areas that were largely dependent on Western equipment, spare parts and production components. To all this, financial complications are added after the freezing of Russian assets in the West, a ban on the export of dollars to Russia and the announcement by the Russian authorities in response to these decisions of restrictions on the circulation of the dollar and the euro on the local market.
Undoubtedly, the sanctions had a direct impact on the internal situation in economic terms, in addition to their influence to a large extent on the image of social activity of Russian citizens that has been familiar over the past two decades. For example, but not limited to, the sanctions at the first stage caused the depreciation of the Russian ruble against foreign currencies and an increase in inflation. At the same time, many lost their jobs as a result of the withdrawal of a large number of Western companies from the Russian market. In addition to the above, the ban on air traffic with Russia, and then restrictions on the issuance of “Schengen” visas to Russian citizens, deprived most of their usual tourist trips, including Christmas and New Year trips to European countries. cities. The decisions in this area have also limited the ability of Russian citizens to travel to their favorite major tourist destinations in Egypt and Turkey, as ticket prices have skyrocketed and flight durations have been significantly extended as a result of the closure of their airspace by a number of countries. Russian airlines.
Elvira Nabiullina, director of the Central Bank of Russia, has repeatedly pointed out in statements throughout 2022 that the Russian economy has entered a difficult period of structural changes associated with sanctions. She said that this stage could last more than a year, and did not rule out that the situation would worsen during this time.
Six state tasks
During a meeting of the Council for Strategic Development and National Projects in mid-December at the end of 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the directions that will develop in the new year. Experts say that the development directions outlined by the head of state are aimed at reducing the population’s anxiety about their future.
In his speech at that meeting, Putin stressed that the economic situation was under control and stated that the plans for next year were formulated in the face of “unprecedented sanctions aggression” practiced by the West against Russia and aimed at “crushing the Russian economy”, and stressed that “as everyone sees, their calculations did not materialize”, and that the Russian economy is recovering and continuing its activities. However, the President of Russia did not deny the decline in gross domestic product, pointing out that the budget is likely to be in deficit in the new year, while stressing that the authorities “will pursue responsible financial and macroeconomic policies, ensure full financing of social obligations and address new challenges facing the country.
The President of Russia stressed that his country will continue to develop and develop, “despite any pressure from outside.” He stated that qualitatively new projects will be implemented that will raise Russia to a higher technological level and guarantee its economic, financial and technological sovereignty. He added that for this, six main tasks need to be solved during 2023. It:
1- Taking cooperation with key partners to a new level in the fields of energy, food, finance, logistics and other high-tech industries.
2- Strengthening technological sovereignty, accelerating the growth of the manufacturing industry and achieving leadership in these areas.
3- Ensuring the financial sovereignty of the country and providing the necessary resources to investors on the basis of promising high-tech projects that produce products with high added value.
4- Expanded infrastructure development.
5- Reducing poverty and increasing incomes of the population.
6- Protection of motherhood and childhood and family support at all levels.
2023 is the year of “caution”
2022 was not an easy, even normal year for most Russian citizens. This left them with many new year fears.
Reports and studies are usually prepared at the end of each year to find out the mood of public opinion and its expectations for the coming year, and the Russian media have circulated a study prepared by the National Agency for Financial Research in conjunction with VSK Insurance. Dom” at the end of December 2022, and the results of this study revealed that the vast majority of Russians (92 percent) fear bad things that could happen in 2023. It became clear that most fears are related to financial situation, income and work.
Also, 29 percent expressed their concerns about inflation and high prices. And 27% said they fear that their income will fall in the new year, 11% of study participants expressed fear that they will not be able to repay the loan on time, and 9% fear being fired from their current job in the new year.
Also, 20 percent of study participants feared a new pandemic. In the area of security, the study found no fear among Russian citizens about the possibility of nuclear war, while 18 percent expressed fear about terrorist attacks. Concerns about lack of food or medicine were low, about 10 percent expressed them. And 8% said they were not worried about the new year.
The study also touched upon the plans and expectations of Russian citizens related to their financial situation for the new year. It showed that the majority of Russian citizens plan to save and save money, as 75 percent said they did not intend to take any loans, and 71 percent of those surveyed intend to save money. In contrast, 23% believe they will become richer in 2023. Optimistic Russians live in Siberia (33%) and the Urals (30%), while the most pessimistic live in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region (12%). as well as in the Northwestern Federal District (15%). On the other hand, 17% believe that they will become poorer in the new year (22% in the Far East and 12% in the North Caucasus). And 29 percent answered that their financial situation in 2023 will not change.
Finally, a study by the Russian State Insurance Company in collaboration with Otkritie Bank focused on the aspirations of Russian citizens in 2023, and they were linked in their totality to the hopes for peace, abundance of funds, and good job stability.