Friday, September 28, 2018

Five Figures that Serve to Define Putin’s Russia and Its Future

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 27 – Statistics are notoriously unreliable especially in the case of the Russian Federation where the questions that are asked and the answers that are given quite often reflect political calculations of one or another kind rather than being a mirror of what is in fact taking place.

            But on some occasions, these figures, especially when one takes in more than one, provide useful guidance as to the shape of Russia at the present time.  Today, there have been five such statistics; and both singly and together, they help to adumbrate what Russia is and even more what it is likely to become:

·         The amount of wealth held abroad by Russian oligarchs and businesses is approximately equal to the amount of wealth retained inside the country, according to Moscow economists and World Bank experts (

·         The number of political prisoners in the Russian Federation has risen from 35 three years ago to 183 now, according to the Memorial human rights organization (

·         Russians by a margin of more than three to one say that having good leaders is more important than having good laws (

·         More than eight out of ten Russian villagers say they are unhappy with the state of Putin-optimized health care in their locales (

·         The number of Russians who say they are prepared to take part in demonstrations against the government’s program to raise pension ages has fallen “sharply,” while a new poll finds that almost half think the country is moving in the right direction ( and

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