Currently, the Russian economy again begins to grow after several years of recession caused by falling oil prices, Western sanctions and the weakening of the national currency. However, this recovery is very slow, despite government claims to the contrary.
Outside of Moscow, in small cities like Balabanovo, many Russians look to the future with much less tangible optimism.
“We have six children, we live on 30 square meters, and the authorities there to get us,” said one woman, beside which stood her husband, holding the baby in her arms.
According to her, they were asked to help them to improve their living conditions, and they barely get to make ends meet.
The town of Balabanovo located at a distance of 100 kilometers from Moscow, however, and many people are even ready to make the journey, making choices in favor of cheaper life in a small town.
The reality is much more evident in the regions
Alexander Zorin joined the initiative “teach for Russia” program, designed to involve young professionals in rural schools.
“When I lived in Moscow, I realized that the level of education in large and small cities of Russia is very different,” said 26-year-old Alexander.
“So I decided to move to a small town and try to do something new in this school.”
“Try to be more efficient or more interesting for these children and give them the chance to get an education of a different level.”
Alexander, who teaches history, said the economy has started to recover, particularly outside the major cities.
“Now people have much less opportunities to travel, receive education, and even to buy things that can improve their quality of life or make it easier,” said Ms. Zorina.
“Balabanovo much better reflects the life of Russia than Moscow or other large cities”.
“Wisdom comes with age”
But Victor Lactucin, Director of the school, in which Alexander, much older than her, and he has much more life experience.
“If we compare our life with the 1990-ies, after the adjustment period, the difference is obvious”, — he said.
One elderly woman tells what she knows about inflation in Russia. “But I feel some stability,” she added.
“Now we live better than in 1990-e years”.
There are residents of Balabanovo and such, who can boast the complete absence of any problems.
“This is just my opinion, but personally I don’t see any economic problems. I have been doing business, I like it, I have no problems,” said one man.
However, in General, many Russians, the future seems pretty bleak.
Putin strongly opposes the West
Basic foodstuffs such as milk, eggs, cheese and some meats, have risen in price twice. The West imposed sanctions against Russia in connection with the annexation of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine in 2014. In response, Russia has banned the import of certain food products produced in the West.
For example, now in Russia there is no French cheese.
This allowed the President of Russia Vladimir Putin to rally the Russians against the common enemy — against the West.
And if economic difficulties — this is what the Russians have to put up with for the sake of defending those ideas that they believe in, then the majority of people in this country will gladly do it.
But the trap is that the information on which they rely in their decision, they usually get from sources administered by the Kremlin.
According to surveys, the popularity rating of Mr. Putin keeps at level of 80%.
Maybe Russia’s economy is not stabilized, but Mr. Putin has managed to strengthen its position in power.