Amid a stagnant economy, a pension crisis and cuts to healthcare, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been planning massive development projects throughout the country to keep people from moving away.
Some 80 percent of Russians live in cities, but they have been increasingly moving to the country’s bigger cities while smaller ones are emptying out, Bloomberg reported. The national redevelopment goal is to modernize smaller cities to make them more attractive to industries and families who are priced out of big cities like Moscow.
Since 2011, Putin has been promoting a multibillion-dollar modernization campaign, and last March he pledged to double spending on infrastructure upgrades. His goal is “the formation of a mass and active middle class” who won’t abandon their home cities for Russian capitals, or abroad.
The Kremlin allocated $31.7 billion over the past four years to urban development in Moscow. Elsewhere, the redevelopment funds are being funneled toward projects spread through 40 smaller cities with a total of 23 million people.
As of last year, multi-city surveys by PwC and Boston Consulting found the efforts were working in Moscow at least with residents reporting a higher level of satisfaction with their city than average. [Bloomberg] – Gregory Cornfield