Daily Video

July 2, 2009

Russia’s Economic Woes Hamper Recent Prosperity

After a decade of economic growth, Russia has been hit hard by the global financial crisis and now suffers from record high inflation and unemployment rates.

With the Russian economy so heavily dependent on oil and natural gas, falling energy prices have shocked Russians who have experienced unprecedented prosperity in the past several years. Under former President Vladimir Putin, a new middle class developed and industrial production soared.

Some critics of the government argue that Russia needs to introduce economic reforms to the nation, rather than hope that oil and natural gas prices will eventually increase again.

NewsHour correspondent Margaret Warner reports from Russia, talking to citizens about how they are coping with the global economic downturn.

Quotes

“We used to work two or three shifts and on Saturdays, also. Now we work only two to four days a week. My job pays only half as much as it used to. But when you’re older than 50, it’s hard to get a new job.” – Alexei Koverigina, Russian worker

“That’s just an issue of the diversifying the Russian economy, which should not rely only upon the gas, oil and metals. It should be modern type of economy based on the unique human capital which we have in the country.” – Anatoly Chubais, CEO, Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies

“Current government simply thinks that sooner or later those smart guys in U.S. and Western Europe will do something with the whole situation in the world and oil prices will come back on the same levels. And this government will continue to do nothing, not pursuing any single reform.” – Mikhail Kasyanov, Former Prime Minister

Warm Up Questions

1. What has happened to the global economy?

2. What do you know about Russia today?

Discussion Questions

1. Did this video surprise you? Did you know that Russia’s economy was booming over the past several years?

2. Can you think of instances in the U.S. where the economy of a city or state is too dependent on one industry?

3. Both the United States and Russia are experiencing record high unemployment rates. What else do you think Russian and American citizens have in common? What are some differences?

Additional Resources

Read the transcript

NewsHour Reports from Russia

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