Staunton, October 19 – Three relatively small cutbacks in Russia – the end of Transaero flights to the Russian Far East because of the company’s bankruptcy, a cutback in government funding for the repatriation of Russians from abroad, and discussions about elimination of subsidies for workers in the Far North – may very well have extraordinarily large consequences.
The end of Transaero flights from Vladivostok means that that region is ever more cut off from Moscow and European Russia, triggering anger among passengers in the short run and leading ever more people in that region, eight or more time zones from Moscow to focus neighboring countries in the Far East rather than on Russia.
Reductions in funding for and the tightening of conditions on compatriots whom Moscow has hoped to attract from abroad to address Russia’s demographic problems and to provide a concrete example of Moscow’s support for Vladimir Putin’s “Russian world” will reduce the flow of such people still further and increase cynicism about this entire project.
And the likelihood that Moscow will cut back on subsidies to workers in the Far North, subsidies necessary to attract Russians to that region, will have two serious consequences: Russia will not be able to develop the economy of the region as it had hoped, and in the absence of an influx of Russians, the non-Russian share of the population there will increase.
All three of these developments were very much on public view this week. “The Siberian Times” reported today that as a result of the collapse of Transaero’s service, no economy class tickets to Moscow will be available anytime soon and that train service as an alternative takes a week (siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/n0454-fury-of-passengers-as-vladivostok-blockaded-by-collapse-of-airline-transaero/
And “Vesti Karelia” reported that as Moscow has cut back in its subsidies, firms in the Far North have had to cover part of these costs. A few have done but only by raising their costs to the point they are not competitive while others have not as the cost of holding on to their workers (vesti.karelia.ru/news/severnye_lgoty_snova_predlagayut_peresmotret/).