How long will we accept stagnation?
Our eternal president has trapped Russia in a time warp, said Nikita Isayev. After being sworn in for a fourth term in office earlier this month, Vladimir Putin called on the country to strive for new “breakthroughs” to improve living standards. But how can that happen with no new blood at the top? Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who compliantly switched places with Putin for a single term in 2008 to get around term limits, remains in his post. First Deputy Prime Minister Anton Siluanov will again be in charge of economic policy. Nearly all the faces in the cabinet, in fact, are the same. Nor has Putin offered a single fresh policy idea. “This is stagnation” that will hold back “the technological, scientific, industrial, and social development of the country.” We’re seeing Soviet-style lauding of achievements where no progress was actually made. Look at Putin’s 2012 promise to raise the salaries of public sector workers by up to 50 percent by 2018. Those who received raises were either moved to part-time work—so they got the same pay, just for fewer hours—or saw their bonuses cut. For many, this supposed wage increase “led ultimately to a reduction in income.” Without real economic reform, I give this government about a year until Russia has a “social explosion.”