Russia will undergo many changes over the next four years. Experts debate which exactly…
In the two months before the elections, Russians somehow got used to the idea of having two presidents — an acting and a newly elected leader. But the days of the diarchy ended with Dmitry Medvedev’s inauguration on May 7. Many questions remain unanswered about Russia’s political future. What will President Medvedev’s policies be? How will Medvedev maintain his political stature? What difficulties and successes await Russia and Medvedev? How will Russia’s economic and domestic and international policies change? KP spoke with renowned political scientists to address these questions.
Middle class, or just somewhere around the middle?
Political scientist and Deputy Director of the Political Technology Center Boris Makarenko talked about President Medvedev’s 2020 socio-economic development program that he announced in Krasnoyarsk.
“The program’s goal is to give Russia an injection of modernization,” Makarenko said. “The program is both fantastic and accurate, but today the main issue is where Russia will get the necessary finances. Oil revenues and consumer demand have served as the engine for Russia’s progress in recent years. But we’ve already squeezed all that we can out of the high prices on oil. If we start exploiting Russia’s reserves, inflation and prices on products will skyrocket. And more than anything else inflation is just taxing the poor.”
Inflation worries Russian citizens more than any other issue, according to the Russian Public Opinion Research Center. Approximately 68 percent of the population considers inflation to be a serious problem.
Makarenko said that Russia’s primary unused resource is giving the middle class the opportunity to participate in the country’s development. He added that Medvedev will most likely attempt to support the middle class, reiterating that the government’s finances are only social payments taken from salaries as tax.
“You need to bake the bread before cutting it to make sure everyone gets a thick slice,” Makarenko said. READ MORE