(Bloomberg) As he gears up for campaign season, Vladimir Putin has a chance to signal to voters that even his own entourage is feeling the pain of recession.
Russia’s president has agreed to Kremlin job cuts as part of spending curbs in his bureaucracy of as much as 10 percent, people with knowledge of the plan said.
While Putin’s popularity remains near 90 percent, the public uproar over an expensive watch that his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, flashed at his wedding last month shows an underlying irritation with the lifestyles of cosseted officials.
“In a situation where everyone is discussing a bureaucrat’s half-million-dollar watch, this is an important signal at the beginning of an election campaign,” said Nikolay Petrov, a researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. “It will have a symbolic effect on the public, who will be shown that the authorities are also suffering.”
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