Experts discuss sociodemographic impact of the crisis

25 may 2015

The Analytical Center held a round table "Sociodemographic impact of the economic recession", during which experts discussed a wide range of issues of the current and potential impact of the crisis on the socio-demographic situation in Russia, as well as measures to minimize negative effects.

Experts noted that in 2014 Russia was influenced by multiple crises in socio-economic and political spheres. The development of the country was affected by sectoral sanctions, the fall in oil prices, the currency crisis, the reduction of the working population. Therefore, according to experts, the assessment of the impact of the crisis on the social and demographic situation is currently of a special importance. "When interpreting the social policy, we face huge difficulties", said Gleb Pokatovich, the Deputy Head of the Analytical Center. "Each problem consists of the complex of issues. I hope, today we will be able to identify key issues and understand, how profound social impact will be in the end."

Daria Prosyanyuk, the advisor to the Department of sociological research programs, talked on dynamics of social tensions in Russian society. Economic factors, relating to sanctions against Russia and their impact, today have its decisive impact on the society's emotional and psychological state, considers the expert. "They can cause an increase in social tensions", she said. "Now social tensions are in a form of dissatisfaction with the socio-economic status and they are not outgrowing  in the form of dissatisfaction with the goverment and readiness for protest actions on economic grounds, however factors affecting the change of the public consciousness to the opposite direction continue to operate," said Ms. Prosyanyuk.

Oksana Sinjavskaya, the Senior Research Fellow of the Center for the analysis of income and living standards of HSE, considers level of inequality to be an important factor of social tensions. "The abillity of the government effectively restrain inequalities and implement policies aimed at its reduction will depend on the behavior of the population. Now Russia is at risk, the level of inequality remains high," said the expert. According to her, the main policy of the government should be aimed at the development of tools that reduce inequality. Ms. Sinjavskaya also described the current crisis as a protracted one, therefore, in her opinion, questions on diversification of sources of cash income and margin of safety, necessary to ensure the preservation of current consumption, are becoming more relevant.

Experts pointed out that during the crisis the maximum risk of poverty is experienced by children up to 16 years and families with children. The risk of poverty increases with the number of children in families. "The situation in this group of population is very difficult," said Oksana Kuchmaeva, the head of the laboratory of life issues of families and family policy of the Institute of Family and Education in the Russian Academy of Education. "The adopted plan of implementation of the first phase of the Concept of the state family policy did not include the main measures that had been outlined in the document. There are no specific mechanisms for the development of a flexible labor market for people with family responsibilities and measures to create a model of family taxation and support for children with divorced parents - namely, the problem of non-payment of alimony." According to her, individual measures in the form of benefits for needy families will not help on their own.

As for pensioners, this group of the population is least likely to be found among the poor. Experts pointed out that the rapid pace of poverty reduction among the elderly is due to measures aimed at accelerating the increase in the size of pensions and increased social benefits. In particular, in 2010 a co-payment for all non-working pensioners was introduced, wich increases their personal income to the minimum subsistence level.

Also, during the roundtable problems of direct and indirect impact of the crisis on people's health, scientific support to assess the socio-demographic and other impact of the economic crisis, the demographic situation were discussed.