(Bloomberg) Vladimir Putin's economic model has relied on abundant oil and gas revenue to fuel consumer spending and raise living standards. Modernizing Russia's outdated industrial base hasn't been a priority.
Now that model is tottering, as depressed oil prices and Western sanctions send the economy into recession. And Russians are increasingly unhappy about it.
Look at what's happening in Vologda, a region in northwestern Russia that's home to scores of factories producing everything from textiles to steel. Employees at bus and trolley car manufacturer Trans-Alfa Electro walked off the job this month, saying they hadn't been paid in nearly six months. Workers from the nearby Vologda Machine Building factory, a producer of milk-storage tanks, burst into the regional governor's office last month to protest layoffs and unpaid wages and ask him to renationalize the company. They followed up with an open letter to President Putin on April 3. […]
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