In Search of Putin’s Russia – Part 2 Arising from the Ruble
Al Jazeera (2015)
In the second episode of In Search of Putin’s Russia, Russian journalist filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov examines Russia’s 2014 economic crisis, which he blames on falling oil prices and US and EU sanctions.
Overall he feels the sanctions (and more importantly Russian counter sanctions) have helped strengthen Russia’s domestic food and industrial production. At the same time the sanctions have hurt many ordinary Russians, in part due to really low salaries. For example, the average Russian teacher earns $300 a month.
The drop in the value of the ruble has led to many home foreclosures. Ever since the Soviet collapse, Russian banks only issue mortgages in foreign currencies. Because Russians are paid in rubles, they could no longer keep up with payments when the value of the ruble dropped 40% in 2014.
Access to health care is also a major issue owing to the collapse of the state-run Soviet health care system. This is especially true in rural areas where people are too poor to pay privately for care.
Most health care funding seems to come from charities, which also raise funds to keep children out of orphanages when their parents are too poor to provide for them. Russia’s current economic crisis has placed a growing number of families in this predicament.