Russia turning back?

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RUSSIA - For over a period of one month until mid-July, the world was glued to the television screens, experiencing World Cup euphoria. Russia has greatly benefited in terms of soft power and nation branding as this world cup was a chance for them to re-brand the country and spur nationalism. Behind the facade of World Cup, there has been unrest in the background and it appears that Russia could be doing much better.
Our last trailer of the week spoke about the arrest of Pussy Riot members for invading the World Cup pitch during the finals. After 15 days of detention, they walked out of the correctional facility, only to be rearrested again. Reports say they might have to face another 10 days of detention. 

Hollywood Reporter published an article recently titiled "Russian director, journalists killed in africa while filming documentary". The russian filmmaker and Putin critic, Alexander Rastorguev and the crew were reportedly making a documentary about Wagner, a Russian private military firm which was said to be responsible for carrying out clandestine military operations in Syria and East Ukraine. With prominent filmmakers and activists being arrested and killed, the question is, "How long can Russia afford to be an outlaw?"

Russian living standards are eroding. Protests erupted across Russia over the government’s plan to raise the pension age. According to polls, eight out of ten Russians oppose the reform. These living standards are affecting the mood and attitude within Russia as well. According to sociologists at the independent Levada Centre in Moscow there is a rising pessimism within Russia. More and more Russians say they are gloomy about their personal prospects, as well as about the country’s future.
One of the above mentioned reforms that is being protested in Russia is the rise of the pension age. The proposal would hike the pension age from 60 to 65 for men and from 55 to 63 for women by 2034. This brought tens of thousands of protesters to the streets all across Russia. But a larger consequence of such an outcome in russian society is the significant falling of Putin's approval ratings. Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VCIOM) published a poll in July that showed that just 37.9 % of respondents trusted the president of taking decisions on issues of national importance. Does this mean we are witnessing a begining of an end to Putin era?

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