Staunton, July 26 – The rising tide of inflation has pushed down optimism among Russians about the long-term future to the lowest point they have been since the Public Opinion Foundation began measuring such attitudes for the Russian Central Bank in 2009, according to its latest survey (cbr.ru/Collection/Collection/File/35490/inFOM_21-07.pdf).
In addition, the survey found, pessimists now outnumber optimists by 14 percent even for the next year, the worst relationship between the two groups since December of last year (finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/vera-rossiyan-v-dolgosrochnoe-budushchee-strany-rukhnula-do-absolyutnogo-minimuma-1030662547).
What makes this especially worrisome for Russians as a nation is that even during the peak of the crisis in 2014-2015, “the majority continued to believe that the difficulties were temporary and that five years out the situation would correct itself.” That has now changed, with a majority having reached a different conclusion.
As late as 2017-2018, Finanz.ru continues, “the number of long-term optimists exceeded the number of pessimists by eight to 21 percent.” The situation began to change with the pension reform, but it has deteriorated more sharply because of the pandemic and the economic problems associated with it.
Most Russians now see themselves as poorer than before but unlike in the past, they have little hope that the situation is about to change or will even in the longer term, Lev Gudkov of the Levada Center survey firm wrote earlier this month (levada.ru/2021/07/08/narastayushhaya-agressivnost-sotsiolog-lev-gudkov-o-nastroeniyah-rossiyan/; cf. windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2021/07/none-of-strategies-putin-accustomed-to.html).
Gudkov said and Finanz.ru cites his words that “this poverty works for the authorities because with the growth of well-being grow demands and claims against it.” Without much hope for change, Russians are even less prepared to make such demands on the authorities, and the powers that be can continue along their current course.