NewsSurvey reveals gap between Russian government reports and public reality amid Ukraine conflict

Survey reveals gap between Russian government reports and public reality amid Ukraine conflict

Russia, Moscow. Year 2017.
Russia, Moscow. Year 2017.
Images source: © Getty Images | Spencer Platt
5:41 AM EST, February 28, 2024

A survey by RussianField reveals that over one-third of Russians – 35 percent – observed a dip in their living standards amidst the two-year conflict with Ukraine.

Propaganda versus reality

This finding comes as a surprise, especially since Rosstat announced a 5.4 percent increase in the real disposable incomes of Russian citizens last year, marking "the best result since 2010".

Only 16 percent of those surveyed noticed any financial improvements.

Nearly half – 48 percent – stated that their living standards remained unchanged. This sentiment was predominantly expressed by women and individuals over 60, whereas Russians aged between 30–44 reported decreasing incomes, according to sociologists from RussianField.

Rising prices cause concern among Russians

Forty percent of participants expressed concern over escalating prices and a reduced variety of food and beverages.

Close to one in five individuals – 18 percent – encountered challenges acquiring automotive products and vehicles, a market severely impacted by the exit of major Western corporations from Russia.

One in ten – 11 percent – fear that electronics may vanish from the shelves or become pricier, while 9 percent raised concerns over obtaining medications.

DSM Group noted that the product range in Russian pharmacies shrunk by 2,200 items last year, and the availability of budget medicines (below 100 rubles or approximately $1.36) dropped by a quarter.

The war's impact

"Concerns around the availability of food and drinks are most acute among Russians with limited income and those under 45," states RussianField. The survey also found that 20 percent attribute the deterioration in living standards directly to the war.

Rosstat figures for last year show that the average monthly income of Russian citizens was 50,265 rubles (about $687), with the earnings of employed individuals averaging 70,969 rubles (around $971). These figures nominally increased by 13.8 percent, and with inflation accounted for, by 7.6 percent.

Regrets regarding the invasion of Ukraine

A RussianField poll also indicates growing regret among Russians about the February 24, 2022, military invasion of Ukraine, ordered by Vladimir Putin. A record 38 percent wished they could reverse the decision to initiate the "military operation."

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