What is Putin's greatest worry right now? His own citizens

3 days ago

Russian President Vladimir Putin talks during his gathering with workers aft riding a bid crossed the span linking Russia and Crimean Peninsula astatine Taman railways presumption connected December 24, 2019 adjacent Anapa, Russia.

Mikhail Svetlov | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Improving Russian citizens' surviving standards is President Vladimir Putin's biggest interest close now, helium told CNBC connected Wednesday, offering a uncommon penetration into the preoccupations of 1 of the world's astir almighty leaders.

"Our main problem, our main contented and extremity is to summation the revenues of our citizens," Putin told CNBC's Hadley Gamble connected Wednesday. His reply came aft being asked what his top interest was today, beryllium it inflation, stagflation oregon the state situation successful Europe oregon hostility successful the South China Sea.

"This is our main situation ... we request to guarantee economical maturation and to summation its quality. These are our semipermanent tasks," helium said.

Putin added that the authorities was "going to amended the societal concern to summation the revenues of our citizens and to woody with the 2nd precise important task is the demographic situation. And it entails a batch of societal issues, healthcare, education, supporting families with children."

"So these 2 precise important issues, [the] demographic 1 and expanding the gross of our citizens and improving their prime of beingness ... should beryllium solved connected the ground of economical growth. That's what we are going to bash successful the adjacent future," helium said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a plenary league of the Russian Energy Week International Forum successful Moscow, Russia October 13, 2021.

Sergey Guneev | Sputnik | Reuters

His comments travel arsenic Russia's GDP per capita, a halfway indicator of economical show and commonly utilized arsenic a wide measurement of mean surviving standards oregon economical wellbeing, remains beneath its peers successful the OECD and EU.

Chris Weafer, main enforcement serviceman of Moscow-based strategy consultancy Macro-Advisory, told CNBC successful September that "the existent contented which scares the Kremlin is the changing demographics," with an expanding fig of Russians calved aft the Soviet Union ended and demanding a amended modular of life.

″[They] privation improved lifestyle, incomes societal supports and a amended aboriginal for themselves and their families," Weafer said. "The large situation for President Putin and the alleged Russian 'elites' volition beryllium however to fulfill those expectations portion keeping power. Failure successful the erstwhile volition much severely undermine to second successful the adjacent statesmanlike word - nary substance who that president whitethorn be."

Prosperity nether Putin

During his 2 decades successful power, Putin has undoubtedly overseen a play of maturation successful the Russian economy. Likewise, connected the governmental front, Russia inactive stands firmly connected the planetary geopolitical stage.

Like immoderate economy, however, Russia has not been immune to planetary and home events some nether and retired of Russia's power that person unseated its maturation trajectory and caused fiscal hardship to its citizens.

This was astir evident successful 2014 erstwhile a autumn successful planetary lipid prices, combined with Russia's determination to annex Crimea from its neighbour Ukraine, enactment monolithic unit connected the system and society. This was owed to little authorities revenues for oil-exporting Russia and newly-imposed planetary sanctions connected the state for its Crimea onshore grab. The large diminution successful the ruble led to rampant ostentation and prices connected basal products soared, earnestly affecting Russian consumers.

Most recently, the Covid-19 pandemic besides deed Russia's system arsenic hard, though it fared amended than immoderate developed economies. The World Bank noted that Russia's gross home merchandise (GDP) fell by 3% successful 2020, compared to contractions of 3.8% connected mean globally, and 5.4% successful precocious economies.

"Several factors helped Russia execute comparatively better: successful caller years, Russia undertook important macro-fiscal stabilization efforts, resulting successful an improved fiscal position. A monolithic banking assemblage clean-up, unneurotic with enhanced regularisation and supervision, fortified superior and liquidity buffers," the Bank said successful a study successful May.  

Read more: 5 charts amusement Russia's economical highs and lows nether Putin

Still, the pandemic remains a superior nationalist wellness situation successful the state with cases precocious and vaccinations sluggish; on Wednesday, Russia reported its highest regular decease toll since the commencement of the pandemic, breaking a erstwhile grounds connected Tuesday.

People locomotion done the Red Square successful a sunny autumn time successful Moscow connected October 9, 2021.


Economists astatine the World Bank forecast past week that Russia's GDP would grow by 4.3% successful 2021, earlier slipping backmost to turn by 2.8% successful 2022 and past 1.8% successful 2023 arsenic the output spread closes. The Bank noted that "a continued planetary economical recovery, comparatively precocious lipid prices, and an improved Covid concern are expected to assistance consolidate the incipient betterment successful home demand."

Does the nationalist privation Putin?

President Putin refused to beryllium drawn connected whether helium volition tally for bureau successful 2024, although Russia's constitution was changed successful 2020, controversially, successful bid to let him to bash so.

If helium does tally for re-election (with a triumph each but guaranteed unless determination is seismic alteration successful Russia successful the adjacent fewer years, fixed the oppression of absorption parties and politicians, similar the jailed Alexei Navalny) past Putin, who's present 69, could perchance beryllium successful powerfulness until 2036.

Asked if helium had a succession program connected Wednesday, Putin said "I similar not to reply specified questions, this is my accepted response. We volition hold until the upcoming elections for that."

"The speech successful this respect is to stabilize the situation. The concern indispensable beryllium unchangeable and harmless successful bid for powerfulness structures and satellite structures to enactment safely and responsibly," helium said.

With a emblem depicting President Vladimir Putin, pro-Kremlin activists rally successful Red Square, Moscow, March 18, 2014, to observe the incorporation of Crimea.

Dmitry Serebryakov | AFP | Getty Images

Geopolitical events some astatine location and overseas person led to Putin's popularity fluctuating wide since 1999, according to polls conducted by the autarkic Levada Center.

When Russia annexed Crimea, Putin's popularity soared from 61% to 85%, for example, but since past his ratings person steadily declined to their existent level, of 64% successful September.

Whether Russians judge Putin tin lick the country's interior problems, oregon should enactment successful powerfulness aft 2024 is different matter.

Levada's latest survey connected Putin's lasting with the Russian people, of 1,634 adults successful precocious September with the results released this week, showed that 47% of Russians would similar to spot Putin stay arsenic president aft 2024, while 42% bash not privation that — the highest complaint since 2013.

Putin's preoccupation with maturation and its trickle-down effect connected mean Russians was conscionable 1 of the topics helium discussed with CNBC astatine Russian Energy Week connected Wednesday. The president besides commented connected a wide assortment of pressing matters, from Europe's state situation to the outlook for lipid prices, arsenic good arsenic rising tensions betwixt Russia's state China (President Xi Jinping erstwhile said Putin was his champion friend) and Taiwan.

Putin besides discussed a scope of vigor issues alongside BP CEO Bernard Looney, TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanne, ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods and Daimler CEO Ola Kallenius connected a panel.

Read more: Putin says 'utter nonsense' Russia is utilizing state arsenic a geopolitical weapon, acceptable to assistance Europe

Russia is an influential unit successful some Europe and Asia fixed its presumption arsenic a planetary lipid and state exporter, though successful caller years Putin has spoken of the request to diversify Russia's system distant from its reliance connected vigor exports, an nonsubjective that has been prioritized aft the 2014 lipid terms crash.