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over the spring, Russians changed their minds about the future for the better

From March to May 2022, the share of those who consider the current times “the most difficult” has significantly increased in Russia. At the same time, there are fewer people who expect the worst in the future. These are the data of a survey conducted by the Levada Center*. The results of the study are at the disposal of RTVI.

In March 16% of the respondents said that “the most difficult times” Russia is going through now. In May, this answer was given 28% respondents. When asked about expecting “the worst in the future” during the March survey, they answered positively 54% participants, while in May – 48%.

The Levada Center* called this trend “a sense of an unfolding crisis” and noted that it had been recorded before, for example, during the economic downturn in 2008/09 and the conflict in Donbass in 2014/15. Later, in 2016/17, sociologists noted a different trend: respondents believed more in the coming positive changes and believed that the period they were experiencing at the time of the survey was “the most difficult”, and after it life in the country would become easier.

In 2018, concerns about the future again came to the fore, the Levada Center notes*. The authors of the study suggest that now things are also moving towards a change in trends – and soon the situation of 2016/17 will repeat itself in a certain sense: “economic difficulties”, accompanied by a “splash of political support”, will still be clearly visible to Russians, but they will already appear them temporary.

Salary cuts and purchase plans

Compared to the March survey by the Levada Center*, optimism has grown noticeably about the possible consequences of the current changes in the economy. Every fifth respondent (20%) said that they expect delays in the payment of salaries or have already encountered them. Almost a quarter of respondents (23%) announced a reduction in their salaries, the same number – about layoffs at work.

At the same time, the share of survey participants who expressed confidence in their “professional position” has increased by six percentage points since March. “Their numbers have been on the rise since 2020,” the authors of the study noted, adding that the positive sentiment on this occasion is fueling consumer sentiment – ​​and, in particular, the hope that prices will slow down in the coming months.

Against this background, between the last two surveys, the share of respondents who are ready to postpone important purchases has decreased by 15% (from 55% to 40%). In May, 17% of respondents said that they could stick to their plans for such purchases. But the share of those who admitted that they were not going to make large acquisitions also increased, from 27% to 36%. This group often included people who were below the poverty line (cannot afford anything other than food).

“Consumer sentiment towards large purchases in May is reminiscent of the situation at the beginning of 2020, when the country’s economy faced a crisis caused by the coronavirus,” the authors of the study noted.

Formerly Levada Center* made public the results of a survey conducted in May, which indicated a decrease in the anxiety of Russians about the sanctions imposed by the West. At the same time, the level of anxiety still remained higher than in December 2021.

* Recognized as a media foreign agent.

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