RUSSIALINK: “Medvedev: Pension Reform Was Hardest Decision of the Past Decade” – Moscow Times

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 6, 2018) Russia’s prime minister on Thursday said that this summer’s decision to raise the retirement age was the hardest the authorities have had to make in the past 10 years. Dmitry Medvedev, who became prime minister in 2012 and served as Russia’s president for a four-year term starting in 2008, announced plans to raise […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin’s Approval Rating Lowest Since 2013 – Poll” – Moscow Times/ Levada Center

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 25, 2018) President Vladimir Putin’s approval rating has fallen to 66 percent, its lowest level since 2013, according to a recent poll published by the independent Levada Center. Putin’s popularity has been hurt by controversial legislation he signed earlier this month to raise the pension eligibility age to 65 for men and 60 for […]

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‘They’ve Stolen Everything’: In Russia’s Far East, Dreams Deferred Amid Grim Mood Over Pension Reform

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Matthew Luxmoore – October 14, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/in-russia-s-far-east-dreams-deferred-amid-grim-mood-over-pension-reform/29542683.html) USSURIYSK, Russia — An unusually warm spell in early October filled this Far Eastern city’s central square with couples and schoolkids enjoying the last bright evenings before the onset of winter. Steps from the main landmark, a monument honoring […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s pension reform still seen as unjust, but less willing to protest” – bne Intellinews [Sept. 27, 2018]

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“The number of Russians willing to protest … unpopular pension reform and the hiking of the retirement age has dropped … from 53% in September to 35% in August, according to [the] Levada Center …. confirm[ing] previous reports that … Putin scaling back the reform managed to calm the masses. … [But] downplaying and squeezing the reform, despite popular discontent, […]

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Russians Are Much Less Willing to Protest Retirement Age Hike, Poll Says

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 27, 2018) Fewer Russians are willing to take to the streets against government plans to raise the retirement age, according to an independent Levada Center poll. A majority of Russian respondents said they were willing to join protests against the unpopular reform in August, before President Vladimir Putin introduced several concessions to quell public […]

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Russian Retirement-Age Hike Advances As Putin’s Adjustment Approved

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – September 26, 2018 – article also appeared at rferl.org/a/duma-approves-putin-s-revised-proposal-to-raise-retirement-age-for-women/29510648.html) An unpopular plan to raise the retirement age has advanced in the Russian legislature after lawmakers overwhelmingly approved President Vladimir Putin’s proposal to limit the increase for women to five years — to age 60 — instead of eight. Deputies […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Pension bill passes 2nd reading in State Duma, 3rd reading due on Thursday” – Interfax

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. Sept 26 (Interfax) – Russia’s State Duma has passed the second and main reading of the bill on pension reform, which envisages a gradual increase of the retirement age. The deputies unanimously (385 votes) supported all amendments to the bill initiated by Russian President Vladimir Putin. A total of 326 deputies voted for the bill at the second reading, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Fury Over Pension Age Hike Clouds Moscow Mayoral Election” – Reuters

Sergei Sobyanin file photo

“Polls show … [that Sergei Sobyanin] will comfortably be re-elected Moscow’s mayor on Sunday, but public anger over planned increases to the nationwide pension age means many voters may stay away, tarnishing his win. … [in] the first test at the ballot box for the authorities since Putin, whose popularity has tumbled by around 15 percent due to anger over […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Liability for firing people of pre-pension age may bar them from employment – FNPR head” – Interfax

File Photo of Empty Chair and Desk with Computer, adapted from image at osha.gov

MOSCOW. Aug 31 (Interfax) – The introduction of criminal liability for employers who dismiss people of pre-pension age may have a negative effect on workers, Mikhail Shmakov, the head of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR), said. “We need to be very careful about the proposal to introduce criminal liability for employers hiring or dismissing people of […]

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Working-Age Russians Now More Pessimistic about Future than Pensioners, Levada Poll Finds

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(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 17, 2018) The continuing stagnation or worse of the Russian economy has “upended the pyramid of social optimism” in Russia, Mikhail Sergeyev says. Instead of older people being the most pessimistic about the future of their country as is typically the case, now working age Russians are. This finding of the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian pundit says migration policy needs to be ‘more open'” – Izvestia/Sergei Ryazantsev

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

In Izvestia, Sergei Ryazantsev argues: “… The United Nations rates [Russia] third after the United States and Germany in terms of number of immigrants. … in 2015 … the US population born overseas amounted to 46.6m; 12m went to Germany, 11.6m to Russia. Uzbeks, Tajiks, Kyrgyz, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, and representatives of other republics of the former USSR began to come […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Pensions in Russia to keep growing after 2024 – Labor Ministry” – Interfax

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MOSCOW. July 9 (Interfax) – Pensions will continue to grow after 2024, but the Labor Ministry is not ready to say at what rate. “We are now calculating everything through 2024, although the calculations undoubtedly cover future periods. We’ll see, it will depend on how we can achieve the current tasks. Without a doubt, we are working on the assumption […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Unions want to negotiate with the Duma on pension reform” – Bear Market Brief E-Mail Newsletter

Russian State Duma Building file photo

“The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia announced yesterday that they want an increase in the pension age to be part of a ‘package’ of labor market reforms … [such as] raising wages and reinforcing the social safety net …. FITUR is, according to Kommersant’s sources, an entrenched part of the All-Russian People’s Front, a coalition led by United […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “In World Cup’s Shadow, Layoffs and Anger at Russian Factory” – AP/New York Times

Large Mother Russia Statue Near Volgograd

“[At] Volgograd’s … Red October steelworks … many … were temporarily laid off because of the World Cup. … aggravat[ing] troubles at the struggling factory, prompting angry workers to plan a protest timed for the … World Cup …. Authorities are apparently trying to head off trouble through pressure and promises of cash. Welcome to the daily realities of … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Authorities begin process of raising retirement age” – Bear Market Brief E-Mail Newsletter

File Photo of Elders Walking in Russia

“… the [Russian] government may submit a draft bill to the Duma to raise the retirement age. … suggest[ing] the strictest variant: 65 years for men, 63 years for women. … likely follow[ing] MinFin’s proposal of increasing the retirement age by one year annually. …  Several key decisions … What to do with those who qualify for early retirement … […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Communism as the Unhappy Coming” – World Bank Policy Research Working Paper/By Simeon Djankov, Elena Nikolova

World Bank Building

“Abstract: This paper shows that Eastern Orthodox believers are less happy compared with Catholics and Protestants using data covering more than 100 countries around the world. Consistent with the happiness results, the paper also finds that relative to Catholics, Protestants, and non-believers, those of Eastern Orthodox religion have less social capital and prefer old ideas and safe jobs. In addition, […]

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Ukrainians Abroad: The Economics and Politics of Labor Migration

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Brian Milakovsky – February 7, 2018) [Text with links kennan-focusukraine.org/ukrainians-abroad-the-economics-and-politics-of-labor-migration/] Brian Milakovsky works on economic recovery issues at a humanitarian organization in Luhanska Oblast, Ukraine . He has been in Ukraine or Russia since 2009, working in both the ecological and humanitarian sectors. In December, Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan made a statement that raised […]

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Interfax: Russia starts sending North Korean labor migrants back home – ambassador in Pyongyang

North Korea Map and Flag, adapted from .gov image

NEW YORK. Feb 7 (Interfax) – Russia has started sending North Korean labor migrants home consistent with the latest resolution of the UN Security Council, Russian Ambassador in Pyongyang Alexander Matsegora told the Russian press in New York. “That would affect the Russian economy, especially the Far East, rather seriously. […] Yet we are strictly and unwaveringly complying with the […]

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Russian Workers an ‘Invisible Class’ Since Collapse of Soviet Union, New Study Concludes

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 11, 2018) Russians employed in factories have become “an invisible group” in society since 1991; and as a result, the identity even now is based largely on memories of the Soviet past as exacerbated by their sense of growing social inequality, according to a new study by the Higher School of […]

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Russian Labor Official Tells Russians to Stop Partying and Start Working

File Image of Artist's Rendition of Champagne Glasses

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 22, 2017) Russians should spend more time at work if they want to be successful, the head of Rostrud, Russia’s Federal Labor and Employment Service, says. Next year, Russia will have 28 official national holidays. They include 10 days in early January when Russians celebrate the Orthodox Christmas and the country traditionally grinds to […]

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NEWSWATCH: “‘No miracles’: labor shortage set to hit Russia’s GDP” – Reuters/Denis Pinchuk, Maria Kiselyova

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“A dearth of young people joining Russia’s workforce because of a low birth rate will shave several percent off potential economic growth in the next five to six years, Economy Minister Maxim Oreshkin said. … the labour shortage made it hard for technology companies, among others, to recruit staff they need …. * * * ‘To a large extent economic growth […]

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Another Worrying Sign For Russia’s Dire Demographics

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW – September 27, 2017 – article also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-population-decline-labor-oreshkin/28760413.html) Many advanced economies are wondering how breakthroughs in technology could leave whole swaths of the population unemployed, but in Russia the government is pondering how to fill jobs with a dramatically shrinking work force. Economy Minister […]

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In Russia, It’s a Woman’s Job to Challenge Soviet-Era Labor Laws; It took Svetlana Medvedeva five years to fight for her right to become a captain

Two Babushkas file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Francesca Visser – September 20, 2017) In Soviet propaganda posters, women feature alongside men as powerful and resolute workers. Forward-looking and muscular, they are portrayed as heroines of the proletariat. It was women workers who in February 1917 started a protest that would evolve into the Russian Revolution. Today, Russia’s labor legislation is among the […]

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Unemployment ranges from 1.5% in Moscow to 27.2% in Ingushetia – Rosstat

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

MOSCOW. June 23 (Interfax) – Russian unemployment in May continued to vary widely by federal district, when the highest rate 3.4 times greater than the lowest, and by region, where the highest was 18 times greater than the lowest, Rosstat reported. Unemployment declined to 5.2% in May from 5.3% in April, 5.4% in March and 5.6% in February and January. […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Informal economy in Russia grows to record levels. The informal economy is being helped by economic decline, on the one hand, and the growth of technologies and Internet-markets for work and part-time work, on the other.”

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

“In 2016, employment in the informal sector of Russia’s economy set a record level for the last 10 years, reports Rosstat, the Russian Statistics Agency (the information was published (in Russian) by the RBC business daily in mid-April).  Rosstat believes that the informal employment category consists of those people who work in enterprises that are not registered as a legal entity, that […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Minister of Labour and Social Protection Maxim Topilin

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – April 26, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a working meeting with Minister of Labour and Social Protection Maxim Topilin. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Topilin, I would like to discuss with you not only current social policy issues but also the upcoming trends that we will definitely encounter due to a number of objective circumstances. We are certainly […]

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Russia Still Migrant Magnet Even as Wages Stay Below China’s

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – April 19, 2017) The vast pool of labor across Russia’s porous borders is relieving strains in the labor market, helping drain the economy of inflationary pressure as it accelerates after almost two years of recession. A steady flow of arrivals has continued even as shrinking wages and Russia’s worst currency crisis since 1998 […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects meeting

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – March 21, 2017) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Presidential Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects at the Kremlin. Participants in the meeting reviewed progress in the implementation of priority projects in healthcare, as well as measures aimed at enhancing labour efficiency. Transcript of the meeting of the Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects President […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Vice-premier: Russia has a unique phenomenon – workers are officially poor”

Cash, Calculator, Pen

Olga Golodets speaks out about worrying trend in the country: despite having regular jobs, millions of people are stuck below the poverty line due to poor wages. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – March 16, 2017) Russian Vice-Premier Olga Golodets has highlighted the fact that alarmingly low wages in the country are keeping people with regular jobs below the […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Russians weather the crisis by sharing beds, rides and jobs”

Moscow Roads

The number of Russians who during the crisis found additional work on the YouDo online exchange grew by almost six times in the 2015-2016 period. BlaBlaCar and AirBnB also told RBTH that there was an increase in demand for its services in Russia in 2016. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – KIRA KALININA, RBTH – January 30, 2017) The […]

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Russians Work Far More Hours but Far Less Productively than Most Other Nations, OECD Says

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 22, 2017) Russians work far more hours per year than do most other nations, but they are far less productive in terms of their contribution to their country’s GDP than are the latter, according to data collected by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The OECD data show, “Ogonyek” […]

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Cheapest Labor Since Tsars Ruled Russia a Draw for Samsung, Ikea

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas, Ilya Khrennikov – November 16, 2016) Made in Russia and coming soon to a store shelf near you: washing machines, chewing gum and possibly much else. A combination of the country’s worst currency crisis since 1998 and an unprecedented slide in real wages for most of the past two years has resulted in salaries […]

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Inside Russia’s beleaguered vocational education sector

Russia Map

Changes in educational funding make vocational education Russia’s Cinderella sector. (opendemocracy.net – Tatyana Dvornikova – November 16, 2016) Tatyana Dvornikova is a Moscow-based journalist. She works with Colta, Kommersant and Radio Mel. Each year for the last four years, students at Russia’s technical and vocational colleges – builders, mill operators, carpenters, cabinet makers, not to mention florists, beauticians, cooks and […]

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For Russia’s Labor Migrants, a Life on the Edge; In slum settlements on the outskirts of Moscow, foreign workers are adjusting to the realities of Russia’s economic crisis.

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Kupfer, Bradley Jardine – November 4, 2016) Not so long ago, the migrant population of Chelobityevo in northern Moscow lived in fear of the police. These were times when uniformed officers would descend on the village unannounced, beating and arresting undocumented workers in their path. Once, migrants were forced to strip naked in freezing […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s renewed might rests on weak economic foundations. Putin bravado does not extend to modernisation of the economy” – Financial Times/Neil Buckley

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

… the gap between the image … Putin portrayed … and the reality was exposed by a sobering assessment of Russia’s economy by another senior official … further emphasised by a draft budget … envisaging a 27 per cent cut in defence spending …. the official … made it clear how Russia’s ambitions clash with its capabilities. … western sanctions […]

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Russians More Positive About Job Prospects as Unemployment Falls

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 27, 2016) Russians are more positive about their job prospects than one year ago, according to a report by a state Russian state pollster. In the survey run by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), less than a quarter of respondents (23 percent) claimed that someone close to them had lost their job […]

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Russia’s Single-Industry Towns to Lose 16,000 Jobs in 2016

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 18, 2016) More than 16,000 Russians in single-industry towns are expected to lose their jobs in 2016, the RBK news website reported Wednesday. Russia’s monotowns – cities where one industry or company provides the vast majority of local employment – have been badly hit by the financial crisis. Overall production in single-industry towns fell […]

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Moscow Times: Russian Middle Class Has Not Felt Impact of Economic Crisis

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 29, 2016) Russia’s middle class has not yet felt the impact of the economic crisis, the Kommersant newspaper reported Monday citing a report by the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Most middle class Russians have retained their jobs and income levels, and many have even reduced their debt burden under […]

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Shuvalov: economic situation in Russia is difficult, there is no influx of guest workers to Russia

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

MOSCOW. Feb 26 (Interfax) – Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said there is no big influx of foreign labor migrants to Russia amid the economic problems. “We need to understand that the economic situation in the country is very difficult. Migrants are not so active now as they were when our national currency was rather strong,” Shuvalov said […]

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Most Russian Monotown Residents Say Economic Situation Unbearable

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 25, 2016) A total of 59.8 percent of residents of Russia’s single-industry towns consider their socio-economic situation to be unbearable or hardly bearable, the RBC newspaper reported Thursday, citing a poll by the Federal Guard Service (FSO). Only 3.9 percent of respondents said the socio-economic situation in their town was favorable and 31.3 percent […]

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The One Shock Russia Dodged Is Set to Catch Up With Putin

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – February 18, 2016) [Charts here bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-17/the-one-shock-sidestepped-by-russia-is-catching-up-with-putin] Russia’s longest recession in two decades is proving a test too far for the labor market. After deflecting pressure in 2015 with salary reductions, part-time work and unpaid vacations, companies are increasingly opting to cut jobs as the economy enters its second year of contraction. As Russia’s […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Months without pay at Donetsk mine leads to strike, firings” – Kyiv Post – Josh Kovensky – January 19, 2016

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

The Kiev Post covers labor unrest amidst the conflict in eastern Ukraine. After months without pay, workers in one of Ukraine’s largest coal mines had enough. Workers at the Kholodna Balka mine in Donetsk Oblast’s Makeevka decided to strike on Jan. 13, bringing work to a halt …. miners said that they decided to go on strike after nearly a […]

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Russian Economy Set to Take Another Hit – A Much Smaller Labor Force in the Future

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 8, 2015) To the extent that falling prices for natural resources will force Moscow to rely on the development of other sectors, the Russian economy faces another and perhaps even more serious hit in the near term – a dramatically smaller workforce, each of whose members will have to support significantly […]

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RIA Novosti: Ex-finance minister forecasts more mass layoffs, fall in incomes in Russia

Alexei Kudrin file photo

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, October 4, 2015) Former Russian Finance Minister Aleksey Kudrin believes that the situation on the labour market in the Russian Federation is not improving so far and forecasts that the period of layoffs will continue for some time. “It has now become clear that the situation is not improving, and mass layoffs are starting in the […]

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State Statistics Show Flat Unemployment, Survey Paints Different Story

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 20, 2015) Despite unemployment levels remaining relatively consistent in the first six months of 2015, more Russians are seeing close friends and family members losing their jobs than in January, according to survey data released by a Russian polling center on Tuesday. According to Russian state statistics agency Rosstat, in January the levels of […]

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Real incomes in Russia decline 2.0% in July, wages down 9.2% – Rosstat

Cash, Calculator, Pen

MOSCOW. Aug 19 (Interfax) – Real disposable incomes in Russia fell 2.0% in July compared with the same month last year, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said. They fell 3.5% in June, 6.4% in May, 4% in April, 1.8% in March, 1.6% in February and 0.8% in January. Incomes fell 2.9% in real terms in January-July 2015. They declined […]

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Russians Named Europe’s Least Productive Workers

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 11, 2015) The productivity of the Russian workforce is the lowest among European countries, according to a report issued Monday by the France-based international Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD. In Russia, labor productivity – measured by the gross domestic product valued in U.S. dollars divided by the total number of hours […]

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NEWSWATCH Kyiv Post: Soviet social guarantees for employees scare away investors, often backfire

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

The Kyiv Post and Olena Gordiienko comment on Ukrainian labor law and its impact on real world labor practices, business and investment. Ukrainian labor legislation is paternalistic and focuses excessively on employee rights, many lawyers and employers say … it also leads to unintended consequences.   Ukrainians earn less than any other nation in Europe, $180 per month on average. Unemployment rose from 7.3 […]

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