Foreign Policy Digital

Russians Lower Their Standards

Life may be getting harder in Russia, but Putin doesn’t care.

Year after year, Russians keep getting poorer. According to new data from Russia’s state statistics agency—an organization that is often accused of fudging data in the Kremlin’s favor—2018 marked the fifth straight year in which Russians’ inflation-adjusted disposable incomes fell. Since Russia annexed Crimea in early 2014, in other words, Russians have gotten steadily worse off.

There are several causes, not all of which are in Russia’s control. The country depends heavily on oil and gas exports, so when prices for those fall—as they did —the country’s economy slows. But as oil prices climbed in 2016, Russia’s economy started . Last year, oil prices were relatively high, hovering around $70 per barrel. Thanks largely to

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