The future of the social policy

On January 16, the first day of the Gaidar Forum, experts discussed whether the social policy will remain a national priority in Russia.

During the discussion session, Will the Social Policy Remain a National Priority, the participants noted the importance of moving from poverty reduction to expanding the middle class and the need to choose a model for social development in the regions; they also analyzed Russia’s experience and priorities for the social sector.

The discussion was moderated by Dean of the Department of Economics at the Lomonosov Moscow State University Alexander Auzan.

Director of RANEPA Institute of Social Analysis and Forecast Tatyana Maleva emphasized in her keynote report that, despite positive assessments of the domestic market, social policy cannot be characterized by a single multiplier. The speaker cited the past year’s positive trends, including a record low inflation, a revival of the consumer market, and the recovering growth of wages (4-5%). However, the total incomes of the population continued to decline. “Over the past year, the reduction of real incomes of the population was observed in three quarters of Russia’s regions,” she said. According to the expert, if revenues grew, trade would be growing, and people would not be taking loans. An expanding middle class could resolve the problem of falling incomes, she suggested.

The social sphere needs personnel, she went on to say. “The main labor market trend is not that the unemployment and employment rates remain at a comfortable level, but the fact that the Russian labor market has entered a period when we truly feel a reduction of the economically active population,” she added. According to the expert, in the first nine months of last year, the domestic labor market lost 0.6 million people. She also believes the birth rate issue has overshadowed other demographic problems such as life expectancy, population mortality, and migration. According to the speaker, time has come for a social security reform, which should make social support truly targeted.

The organizers include the Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy (Gaidar Institute) and the Association of Innovative Regions of Russia (AIRR).

The program outline is available at the forum website.

Participation is free; preliminary registration is required.

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