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

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… 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

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(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

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(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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Ukraine’s labour reforms threaten workers’ rights

Rada File Photo

(openedemocracy.net – Vitaly Dudin – June 5, 2015) Vitaly Dudin is a legal analyst at Ukraine’s Center for Social and Labor Research, which was created in 2013 as an independent not-for-profit institution dedicated to the analysis of socio-economic problems, collective protests, labour relations and conflicts The oligarchs have joined forces to railroad a new labour code that strips Ukrainian workers of […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: Russia plans detailed discussion on raising retirement age: document

File Photo of Elders Walking in Russia

The Russian government has for the first time said officially it will hold discussions on raising the retirement age, a step whose supporters say is vital because the country’s workforce is shrinking. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/14/us-russia-crisis-pensions-idUSKBN0NZ27R20150514

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Moscow Times: Despite Crisis, Most Russian Companies Aren’t Cutting Jobs

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 13, 2015) Despite the economic crisis, two-thirds of Russian companies aren’t cutting jobs and prefer to survive the crisis by shortening work hours or cutting workers’ salaries, a study by global management consultancy Hay Group found. “A lot of companies have refused to take radical measures, as in some sectors the situation has stabilized,” […]

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Putin sees growth of wages outrunning labor productivity as one of causes of economic crisis

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

ST. PETERSBURG. April 27 (Interfax) – The causes of the crisis in the Russian economy are not only external, but also internal, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “As to overcoming the crisis in the Russian economy, we need to understand the causes to decide what to do […] There are, of course, external causes, but they are primarily internal,” Putin […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Unpaid Russian Workers Unite in Protest Against Putin

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

After months of frustration with an economy sagging under the weight of international sanctions and falling energy prices, workers across Russia are starting to protest unpaid wages and go on strike, in the first nationwide backlash against President Vladimir V. Putin’s economic policies. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/22/world/europe/russian-workers-take-aim-at-putin-as-economy-exacts-its-toll.html?_r=0

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Worker Strikes Will Only Boost Kremlin’s Popularity, Say Analysts

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – March 31, 2015) Withheld salaries, unforeseen firings and pay cuts have amplified discontent in an array of Russia’s economic sectors, leading to a handful of strikes political analysts said Monday were more likely to bolster workers’ support for the Kremlin than weaken it. A scattering of Russian teachers, builders and factory workers […]

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Health Care Workers to Hunger-Strike in Protest of Labor Conditions

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – March 24, 2015) Health care workers in central Russia threatened to stage a hunger strike starting Monday to protest what they described as “repercussions” against co-workers who demanded better working conditions and higher salaries at previous protests, media reports said. The hunger strike, planned in Ufa, the capital of Russia’s republic of Bashkortostan, […]

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Labour conflicts in Russia on the rise, cuts top of agenda – union official

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

(Interfax – Volgograd, March 17, 2015) The number of social labour conflicts in the Russian Federation has increased in the past eight months, deputy chairman of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia Yevgeniy Makarov said on Tuesday [17 March]. “The previous week was one of the most difficult ones. Conflicts were recorded in every federal district. There were […]

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Ten New Laws That Will Affect Your Life in Russia in 2015

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – January 21, 2015) New year, new you: An expression that has taken on a special meaning for those living in Russia, where a plethora of new laws – many with a direct impact on the daily lives of citizens and residents – entered into effect on Jan. 1. The Moscow Times has […]

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Working in the Gulag: Russia’s Prison Service, the FSIN, wants to put inmates’ employment on a more businesslike footing, but their working conditions are still more like slave labour

Russian Jail File Photo Showing Outer Wall, Windows, Barbed Wire

(opendemocracy.net – VYACHESLAV KOZLOV – January 9, 2015) Vyacheslav Kozlov is a journalist for daily newspaper Kommersant. He writes on international relations, nationalism, extremism, narco-politics, the Russian opposition and the problems facing Russia’s NGOs. He has at various times worked for Vremya Novostei, Moskovskiye Novosti and the online publication Gazeta.ru. His work has also appeared in Novaya Gazeta and Lenta.ru. […]

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Russia’s Boom Business: Forced Labor In Prisons

File Photo of Pussy Riot Members in Courtroom Enclosure, With Man Showing Papers to One While Female Guard Looks On

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Vladimir Abarinov – August 11, 2014) When Nadezhda Tolokonnikova arrived at penal colony IK-14 in August 2012, a deputy warden proudly announced: “As far as my political convictions go, I am a Stalinist.” Tolokonnikova soon learned what that meant in practice. One year into her sentence for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred,” the Pussy Riot activist launched a hunger strike […]

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Now I’m a union man

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

(opendemocracy.net – Grigory Tumanov – January 13, 2014) Grigory Tumanov is a Moscow based journalist and blogger. He is a staff correspondent for Kommersant daily, one of Russia’s most respected publications. In both Soviet and more recent times, Russia’s trade unions have tended to be an arm of the regime, but Grigory Tumanov argues that a growing independent movement is […]

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Interfax: Most migrants come to Russia in visa-free travel regime, many don’t speak Russian

Migrant Workers file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 20 (Interfax) – A third of migrant workers do not speak Russian, Federal Migration Service head Konstantin Romodanovsky said. “We are witnessing a surge in the arrivals of migrants from CIS member countries. As of now, 11.1 million foreigners are staying in Russia, and almost three-quarters of them enjoy the visa-free travel regime,” he told a roundtable in […]

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My Two Days Working Undercover at Moscow’s Sadovod Market

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eradzh Nidoev – November 7, 2013) [Photos here http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/my-2-days-working-undercover-at-moscows-sadovod-market/489045.html] It’s 6 a.m. and still dark outside. I am standing inside the sprawling Sadovod market on the 14th kilometer of the Moscow Ring Road in southeast Moscow. A sweeper is working one of the deserted rows of shops, trying to put things in order after yesterday’s […]

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Russian Nation Said to Have Lost Its Ability to Assimilate Others

Migrant Workers file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 6, 2013) For most of modern times, ethnic Russians have assimilated members of other nations living among them because they represented a more advanced community, but now, a Moscow blogger says, they have “lost the ability to assimilate other peoples,” something that makes the influx of non-Russian migrants even more disturbing […]

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Kudrin says Russian economy cannot do without migrants

Alexei Kudrin file photo

ST. PETERSBURG. Oct 22 (Interfax) – The Russian economy will have difficulties functioning without migrant workers, former Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said. “Russia will become a country with workforce deficit in the coming years…We currently cannot do without migrant workers. But migration should be regulated, it should be legal,” Kudrin told reporters in St. Petersburg on Tuesday during the […]

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Study Says Education System Disappoints Market Needs

File Photo of U.S. Diplomat Teaching Class to Russian Students

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – October 22, 2013) The Russian education system is increasingly unable to meet the demands of the country’s labor market and shows little ability to fill vacancies in high-skill industries, according to a study released Tuesday. The second annual Hays Global Skills Index, published by global recruitment company Hays in association with Oxford […]

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Putin: productivity gains must accelerate to shift from raw materials

Oil Well file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, October 2, 2013) The current challenge for the Russian economy is the need to accelerate labor productivity gains, since the current slow pace means that the economic orientation on raw materials extraction will continue, President Vladimir Putin said in Moscow on Wednesday at the Russia Calling investment forum organized by VTB Capital. “For Russia, the main, crucial […]

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The Gulag within: Harsh realities of Russian penal colonies

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – October 1, 2013) For 22-year-old Lena Ivanova, work at a penal colony sewing military uniforms began at 8:30 a.m. and could last well into the night. “There were situations when there was a big [production] order, and the warden would call everyone outside [into the square] rain or snow, and we were […]

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How former Soviet countrymen resettle in Russia

Map of European Portion of Former Soviet Union

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Lyudmila Nazdracheva, special to RBTH – September 26, 2013) This year, thanks to a program that facilitates the return of nationals to Russia, around 15,000 people have moved back to the country. The plans for the program estimated the influx of returning émigrés to be in the hundreds of thousands per year, and […]

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