Staunton, March 11 – The Russian government has done almost everything it can to hide unemployment, encouraging firms and enterprises to keep people on the job even while cutting their hours and wages. But Moscow is running out of options to block a dramatic rise in unemployment in many sectors of the economy.
Earlier this week, for example, Vedomosti reported that between 2006 and 2015, the number of Russians employed in processing industries fell from 12.44 million to 10.34 million, a decline partially hidden by a dramatic rise in the number of siloviki from 4.94 million to 5.33 million (vedomosti.ru/politics/articles/2017/03/07/680254-krizis-siloviki-chinovniki).
In a commentary on the Svobodnaya pressa portal entitled “Are People Necessary?” Stanislav Vorobyev says that between 2008 and 2014, all sectors, except retail trade, financial services, and state administration (including defense) showed declines in the number employed, a trend that has only gotten worse during the crisis (svpressa.ru/blogs/article/167995/).
Vorobyev cites the conclusion of Tatyana Maleva, a specialist on economic prediction at the Russian Academy of Economics and State Service, that “the situation now is even worse than it was in the 1990s,” a period most Russians look back to with horror.
During that decade, Maleva says, the population was able to survive thanks in part to entrepreneurial and non-governmental institutions, “but now the state defines where and how many work places are created and the possibilities for people are significantly less” and will continue to be so.