NEWSWATCH: “This Is the Russia You’re So Afraid Of?” – New York Times/Maria Antonova

Russia Regions Map

“… neglect began after the Communist system collapsed and has continued …. Russia is projecting its power from Ukraine to Syria to Western Europe…. [there are] allegations that the Kremlin meddled in the American presidential election …. support for … Putin is high and disdain for America … serves as … an artificial social cohesive …. Most people’s lives focus on economic survival … but … state television [covers] little about domestic problems and plenty about Russia’s international muscle flexing. * * * … Donskoy isn’t Russia’s poorest city. The problems here are common in provincial towns: potholed roads, ancient utilities and underfunded health care. … the percentage of Russians living below the poverty line … has been growing since 2013 … by mid-2016 … more than 21 million …. [for] typical provincial families … 70 percent to 80 percent of monthly income goes to essentials like food, medicine and transportation. While the government spent an estimated $50 billion on the 2014 Sochi Olympics and unleashed a bombing campaign in Syria, there were people in Donskoy living in collapsing dormitory-style barracks built as temporary housing for miners in the 1930s …

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