Signs of Instability in Russia

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.

russia-instability
(click to enlarge)

As economic and social problems persist, so do Putin’s moves to consolidate power in the security sphere and political arena. Severe financial constraints prevent him from solving the economic crisis in advance of the 2018 election, so he seeks to suppress and control economic unrest through increased security measures. For now, the protests are still small, numbering in the low hundreds at most. However, Putin has signaled that he has no intention of tolerating dissent through his reshuffling of internal security bodies and governorships. To learn more about how Putin plans to deal with growing unrest in Russia and how that unrest may intersect with political opposition forces, check out our recent Deep Dive, “Russia’s 2018 Presidential Election.”

The World Explained in Maps bookcover

FREE E-Book:

The World Explained In Maps By George Friedman





    Please leave this field empty.




Please leave this field empty.

We value your thoughts and opinions. If you have a comment on this article, drop us a note in the window above. Your comments will not be published and will only be shared with our team of analysts.



Related Articles

  • The Unconquerable Persian Legacy

    Aug. 18, 2017  Before Islam, Arabs were confined largely to the Arabian Peninsula. They were nomads, warring and leaderless. To the north of the peninsula lay the Byzantine Empire. Across the Persian Gulf lay the Sassanid Empire, which stretched from Mesopotamia to the South Caucasus. The two empires had fought each other intermittently for more than three centuries. It was under these circumstances that their fortunes changed as Islam emerged and became the founding philosophy of a new government in Medina. Ten years later, when the Prophet Muhammad died and a new leader replaced him – ushering in the first Arab empire, known as the Rashidun Caliphate – Arab Muslims had assumed control of the entire Arabian Peninsula.

    But the Arabs embraced Persian culture faster than the Persians converted to Islam. In fact, so great was the Persians’ influence that when Islam spread to Central Asia, the Turkic people who lived there converted to the Persianized version of Islam. Stunningly, the traditions of Persian subjects were adopted by Arab overlords – and not the other way around.

    Keep reading
  • Energy Exports: A Source of Russian Power

    Aug. 11, 2017 Energy sales are an important source of revenue, of course, but for Russia they are more than that: They are an instrument of geopolitical power. They give Moscow considerable influence over the countries whose energy needs are met by Russian exports.

    France and Germany – the de facto, if often irreconcilable, leaders of the European Union – illustrate how Russian energy can shape foreign policy. France may rely heavily on foreign energy, but most of its oil and natural gas comes from Algeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Libya – not Russia. France can therefore afford to be more aggressive and supportive of sanctions against Russia.

    Not so with Germany, which receives 57 percent of its natural gas and 35 percent of its crude oil from Russia. Berlin must therefore tread lightly between its primary security benefactor, the U.S., and its primary source of energy, Russia.

    This is one reason Germany has been such an outspoken critic of the recent U.S. sanctions, which penalize businesses in any country that collaborate or participate in joint ventures with Russian energy firms. Germany supports the construction of Nord Stream 2, a pipeline that would run through the Baltic Sea, circumventing Ukraine – the transit state through which Germany currently receives much of its energy imports. The pipeline would help to safeguard German energy procurement, since it would allow Russia to punish Ukraine by withholding shipments of natural gas without punishing countries such as Germany further downstream.

    Keep reading
  • The Arctic: A Russian Vulnerability

    Aug. 4, 2017 Russia and Canada are the most important countries in the Arctic. Russia holds the most Arctic territory by far. Accounting for the 200-nautical-mile limit that the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea grants Russia the right to claim, Russia occupies approximately 40 percent of the Arctic’s territory.

    More important, the two major sea routes that permit ships to traverse the Arctic run along the Russian and Canadian coasts: the Northern Sea Route and the Northwest Passage. The Northern Sea Route is a more reliable maritime trade route than the Northwest Passage, which the Arctic Institute noted last year was impossible to traverse even at the peak of summer because of ice conditions.

    Keep reading

Geopolitical Futures tells you what matters and what doesn’t.

People say you can’t predict geopolitics.

We have.

Subscribe Now
Learn More About Site Licenses