JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russians in Heartland Sour on Vladimir Putin Over Money Woes; Stagnant wages, rising costs fuel grumbling among working-class residents who once lauded president” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium with United Russia Logo, Gesturing

“… Working-class Russians … have increasingly shouldered the burden of an economy beset by Western sanctions and a government more committed to military spending than overhauling the civilian economy. … after years of paying for Moscow’s military adventures abroad, the economic malaise in Nizhniy Tagil, once considered a bastion of Kremlin loyalty, highlights growing discontent and an erosion of support for … Putin himself throughout the country. … Russia is likely to grow at an annual rate of between 1.3 and 1.5% after this year … [according to] Capital Economics, a London-based consulting firm, adding [that] dissatisfaction was rising. … Protests against economic conditions are unlikely to pose any meaningful challenge to the Kremlin, and pollsters say Russians are more concerned with local issues. … [Yet] Putin is under enormous pressure to reverse the economic tide and boost the buying power of Russians to maintain his legitimacy. …”

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