Staunton, July 2 – Vladimir Putin may not have been able to use the World Cup to distract Russians sufficiently to prevent them from protesting rising gas prices and plans to increase taxes and the retirement age; but he has achieved one thing: Western coverage of Russia has focused on the world cup rather than an avalanche of bad economic news.
Three pieces of such news should not be ignored because they point to longer term consequences than any athletic competition is ever going to have:
First, as commentator Vladislav Grinkevich points out on Profile, rising oil prices have not boosted the Russian economy as they did earlier, something that only highlights the failure of Moscow to come up with an alternative way of boosting economic growth ().
Second, a Telegram blogger says that Western sanctions are having the effect of driving the members of the CIS away from Russia, as the leaders of those countries which remain in it placing their bets on attracting Western investment given that Moscow no longer has the resources to buy them off and keep them loyal (t.me/boilerroomchannel/1602).
And third, ever more of the youngest and most educated Russians say they cannot find suitable work in Russia and thus are planning to emigrate. Half of Russian graduate students plan to leave, and nearly one in three (31 percent) of all Russians aged 18 to 24 tell pollsters the same thing ( ).