The January blues are likely to continue well into 2016, according to Russia’s Levada Center, after the Moscow-based polling company found that over half of Russians are looking to the year ahead with either anxiety or uncertainty.
The poll of 1,600 people across the country found that a 54% of respondents – the biggest share since the poll was first conducted 13 years ago – felt a sense of anxiety or uncertainty regarding the forthcoming year, while only 43% looked ahead with a sense of hope.
Those polled offered particularly grim predictions for the Russian economy and politics. 81% felt that 2016 will be a tense year, economically, and 71% felt the same regarding the country’s political outlook.
Only 1% said they feel very calm about the economy, and 3% said the same about Russian politics. Respondents were slightly less pessimistic when asked about the year ahead for themselves and their families – 37% felt calm about 2016 and 52% said they feel tense.
Russians saw their real wages fall by an average of 9% year on year in every month of 2015, while simultaneously suffering double-digit inflation throughout.
Things look likely to get worse this year, too, after the Russian Economy Ministry announced this week that the government’s assumption for 2016 of a 3% budget deficit is more likely to reach 5.1% of GDP if oil prices do not rise from their 11-year lows soon.