Alienated and Unemployed

The Chicago Tribune hits the streets with Russia’s discontented masses, including a cosmetics company manager who literally stopped her car on a busy road to join an anti-Kremlin protest. Says Sergei Guriev, rector of the New Economic School in Moscow.

“The potential for social unrest, this is the most important threat to the Kremlin and its government. In general, the public is unhappy. People think the government is only saving the oligarchs.”

Meanwhile, The Washington Post probes the ranks of Russia’s ‘alienated and unemployed’ migrant workers, offering insight into some of the protesters’ mindset, not only towards the government but towards the immigrants themselves. Writes the author:

Anti-immigrant sentiment in Russia has been on the rise for years, in part because the people streaming into the country today are so different from those who came before. A decade ago, migrants from the former Soviet republics were usually ethnic Russians who were well educated or highly skilled laborers. Today, most are uneducated, Muslim ethnic minorities, and as much as 20 percent do not speak Russian.

The Russian response? Today Putin announced an amendmentthat will send traders and journalists convicted of stock marketmanipulation to jail in an effort to boost confidence in Russia’sbattered markets. 

“In my view, this is a rather harsh punishment (and) it is beingintroduced for the first time,” said Vladimir Milovidov, head ofRussia’s financial markets service.