Staunton, January 14 – Russians face so many problems and have so many fears that it is often a daunting task to ensure that one is keeping track of all of them. As a guide for the perplexed, Kseniya Veretennikova provides a checklist of the “top 15 fears” Russians have about the year ahead (versia.ru/articles/2015/jan/12/zdravstvuy_opa_noviy_god).
Some of these fears are beyond doubt absolutely justified; others are overblown; and still a third set, not identified by the “Versiya” journalist, may emerge over the next twelve months. That is the risk inherent in all such lists as anyone who reflects about what Russians expected and feared about only a year ago compared to what they are worried about now.
Nonetheless, her checklist is worth having both as a way of keeping track of all that is going on and as a measure of how the events of 2014 are shaping perceptions rightly or wrongly about 2015. And so it is offered here not as a definitive one but as an intriguing and compact way of thinking about the future. Veretennikova’s list follows:
- Further declines in the price of oil and the ruble exchange rate
- Going hungry
- Rising housing prices
- Problems in the automobile market
- Giving up bank cards
- Price increases for communal services
- A ban on holding foreign currency
- Interest rate increases
- An outburst of terrorism in the North Caucasus
- Shortages and possible introduction of rationing
- Introduction of exit visas
- Impoverishment of the population
- Repression of dissent and growth of the prison camp system