Staunton, May 25 – Since the early 1930s, the Soviet and then the Russian government have provided subsidies to workers in the Far North to compensate for the vastly greater amounts of money they must spend on heating, food, and other services. Without these subsidies, few workers would have been able to remain there.
But since 2007, when the Putin government changed the law, many people in the North have lost these subsidies, won their restoration in court, and then lost them again when regional governments didn’t pay or cut other funding or even demanded the return of funds already distributed (meduza.io/feature/2018/05/24/kak-gosudarstvo-otobralo-u-samyh-bednyh-grazhdan-severnye-nadbavki-a-potom-vernulo-a-potom-opyat-otobralo
And there is yet another problem: enterprises that governments have sought to put pressure on to get more money for the subsidies have cut basic wages in order to provide this assistance, leaving the workers less well-off and putting in a legal twilight zone out of which they cannot easily escape.
As a result of this on-again, off-again, on-again, off-again approach to subsidies, many in the North have lost all confidence in the government. At least some of them will have no option but to move out of the region. And that means that the development of the North, something Putin has declared a national priority, is unlikely to happen anytime soon.