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.”





    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 Your comments will not be published and will only be shared with our team of analysts.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

  • Patrolling the Seas in Southeast Asia

    June 23, 2017 Cooperation among Southeast Asian states has never come easy, but the surge of Islamist militancy in the region is encouraging Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines to give it another try.

    Recently, the three countries formally launched trilateral patrols in the Sulu and Celebes seas — a vast expanse that has become a hub of piracy, militancy and smuggling. They have discussed the possibility since 2016, when the Abu Sayyaf, a jihadist group aligned with the Islamic State, conducted a string of kidnappings in the Sulu Archipelago. Whatever differences that may have impeded the patrols, however, were put aside during the siege of Marawi city, a provincial capital in the restive Philippine region of Mindanao.

    But the slow start to the patrols shows just how elusive integration has been in Southeast Asia. Historically, mountains and island chains, not to mention starkly divided ethnic communities, have tended to produce inward-looking countries too preoccupied by instability and too suspicious of foreign meddling to bother to assimilate. (Singapore is a notable exception.)

    Keep reading
  • Low Oil Prices Can’t Stop US Shale Oil Surge

    June 16, 2017 The United States has benefited from the shale revolution more than any other country. Not only does it have extensive shale formations, but most of its wells are located entirely within its territory, so producers don’t have to compete for jurisdiction or share their profits.

    Hydraulic fracturing, more commonly referred to as fracking, is a process by which oil deposits found in shale rock formations are extracted. Shale oil, also called tight oil, is enmeshed in shale rock, which is located thousands of feet beneath the Earth’s surface and is generally less permeable than other rock types, making deposits more difficult to access – difficult, but not impossible.

    In the 1990s, producers began to combine fracking with a separate process known as horizontal drilling, which allows a well to be drilled vertically, then, when the drill hits the desired sedimentary layer, it is turned to drill parallel to the layer. In 1991, a well was successfully horizontally drilled and fractured for the first time, and in 1998 the first profitable horizontally fractured well was completed. The supply of U.S. shale gas, and later shale oil, has increased ever since.

    Keep reading
  • The Islamic State Changes Course in Syria and Iraq

    June 9, 2017 The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces began an invasion of eastern Raqqa on June 6. They captured the neighborhood of al-Mashalab before IS stopped their advance. Meanwhile, Syrian army forces loyal to Bashar Assad crossed into Raqqa province and are now less than 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of Raqqa city.

    The Syrian army has also moved against IS in Aleppo province and outside of the city of Hama, and continues to push east from Palmyra toward the IS heartland. The Islamic State is reeling, no longer in a good position to defend its capital. That means its strategy must change, and along with it, our baseline assessment of its strategic imperatives in Syria.

    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