Staunton, May 2 – Shocks like the pandemic and the restrictions that have been imposed to try to stop it have hit younger people harder than any other group in Russia and led to a dramatic rise in the number of youths who are neither in school or working, something that increases the risk that they are alienated or join criminal subcultures, Valeriya Kasamara says.
In a presentation to the 22nd April International Scientific Conference, the pro-rector of the Higher School of Economics says that the reduction in the number of job openings because of the pandemic forced young people either to move into contract work or informal parts of the economy (iq.hse.ru/news/465480048.html).
According to the HSE scholar, more than one in four Russian young people who are in the shadow economy say they have joined it because no jobs are available in the regular one. And she adds that 33 percent of the officially unemployed are people below the age of 29, with the implication that their real share of the genuinely unemployed is higher still.
Many of these young Russians become homeless or turn to crimes of various kinds to support themselves, Kasamara continues. A particularly hard-hit group are orphanage graduates. More than 20,000 residents graduate into the regular economy each year, and 13 to 15 pecent of them are homeless at the present time.
Young women who have been orphaned are particularly at risk, and the HSE researcher says that in the first year after leaving orphanages, one in every three of them turn to prostitution. The Russian government has developed programs for all these groups, but the pandemic has placed additional stress on these programs, with many young people now falling through.