Aug. 12, 2016 This comes amid significant reshuffling in Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin today removed his long-time chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, from his post. The demotion of one of Putin's closest allies – who had been at the president's side since their days in the Soviet-era KGB and became one of Russia's most powerful men – comes after a string of government reshuffles. Ivanov is the highest-ranking Putin ally impacted by the changes, and his departure also comes at a time when there are reports that another Putin ally, Rosneft chief Igor Sechin, may be falling into disfavor as well.
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March 10, 2017 Approximately one year from now, on March 18, 2018, Russia will hold a presidential election against the backdrop of an economic crisis that will continue to plague the country in the coming year. Internal developments are the key issue facing Russia this year, and the countryside will increasingly show signs of crisis.
Russia faces a number of social and economic problems that have resulted in unrest. After oil prices dropped in late 2014, the country began to experience economic and labor protests. Since then, unrest has continued to spread across Russia. Wage arrears (workers owed back pay), which affect both public and private workers, have become increasingly problematic in oil-dependent and single-industry economies throughout Russia’s interior and in port cities. Cuts in social programs that affect payments to veterans and children have also led to public protests.