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Price Surge And Unemployment

2014 has set the Russian economy and certainly its population under a number of hard tests: sanctions, oil prices collapse, Russian currency devaluation. Do Russians feel the crisis effect? How much concerned do they feel about the economic troubles this country is facing?

 The independent research company of Bashkirova and partners has run a series of public opinions surveys asking Russians which challenge Russia’s facing now is of the greatest threat and relevance to them.


In December 2014 price growth was said to be the most critical problem, Russia was facing (23% of respondents have admitted that). Concerns related to the overall complex economic situation were put on the second top line (with 17%). These problems, in Russians’ mind have appeared even more sinister than corruption, crime and terrorists’ threat. And that’s no surprise, since the Ruble huge devaluation and the inevitable follow-up inflation have made many respondents recall to severe times of crises of 1998 and 2008.

  According to the Russian Statistics Committee and economists’ estimates, inflation in Russia made about 11,4%. Food products prices have increased by 16,7% (buckwheat - by 80%, white cabbage – by 44%, sugar sand  - 38%, chicken and pork – 30%, apples, tomatoes, fish, rice – 20%, cheese, sausages - 15%, beef - 19,3%, fish - 18%).  Drug prices have increased by 20% over year.

According the Russian statistics Committee the real incomes of the Russian population have got reduced by 0,3%  and by 8% by December 2013.  Although this study was being conducted in December 2014, where not everyone in Russia still could feel and realize to the full extent the aftermath of the devaluation (the significant growth share fell on the period between October and December last year). The percentage of Russians showing great concerns about growing prices in overall has not changed much since May. We may point to population categories, most vulnerable towards the economic volatility impact, and thus feeling concerned with drop in their living standards.

Those are people of 40-55 years of age and the retired (respondents above 65) who feel the greatest concerns about price surge. People above 40 y.o., usually having subadult kids (or kids who still don’t work) find it difficult to find a new job or additional earnings. The retired make the least socially protected group of Russian citizens.

We should note that a percentage of those concerned with price surge is greater in urban dwellers than in rural residents. This is because prices for food products, according to Rosstat, are growing faster than those for other categories of products and services.


Young people between 18 and 24 years of age are found to be the least concerned with the prices, as the best part of these still is not employed, and unlike their parents, are not focused on changing price tags figures at stores.    


This being said, on the background of the economic crisis, we can’t help noting the drop in figures for relevance of unemployment, i.e. from 9% in May 2013 down to 4% at the end of spring 2014. 


According to the data from the Federal State Statistics Service, unemployment rate in the Russian work force has not increased much - from 4,9% up to 5,3% and made up 3,974 million people. This can be explained by seasonal market fluctuations. We may also assume that due to price surge those of our participants who have steady job, have said the risks of drop in their living standards is higher than risks of their getting unemployed.


It is remarkable that unlike with the estimation of price surge concerns expressed, rural residents appear twice more often than urban residents, scared of unemployment (6% vs. 3%), where unemployment rate is traditionally higher in rural areas. At the same time, considering greater output in agricultural goods production in early months of 2015, these concerns look rather exaggerated.



This study was conducted in December 2014 based on all-Russia random route sample (18+) by means of face-to-face interviews in place of residence. Altogether 1500 respondents in 8 federal districts, 150 settlements, 200 sample points have been surveyed. The sample error makes up 2,5%.


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