A third of Russians have linked the increase in their standard of living in violation of the law


“A disturbing symptom”

30% of Russians believe that they can increase income or improve their standard of living only in violation of the law, the survey, which was conducted by the Center for socio-political monitoring of the Ranepa. The number of respondents who hold this view, depends on their well-being, experts say — the worse the financial situation, the higher the belief in the need to break laws to improve their lot. For example, among people with low incomes, those 52%. We are talking about violations of non-criminal in nature — for example, the rejection of formalization of relations with the employer, or from registration of a legal entity for doing business, said the Director of the Centre Andrey Departing. In the survey, which was conducted by personal interviews, participated 1.6 thousand people from 35 regions.

“This is an alarming symptom, because in the background of a gradual reduction in real incomes would increase the propensity of citizens to various forms of non-criminal shadow economy and their willingness to engage in this process,” — say the study authors. Real incomes of Russians in the third quarter decreased by 6.1% compared to the same period last year, and it was a record decline since 1999.

Experts have recorded “very approving” the ratio of working citizens to different forms of “shadow economy”. Although only 7.2% of respondents believe that it does more good than harm, but the opposite view is held 34,5% of the respondents, 38.3% of tend to think that it brings benefit and harm in equal measure (the rest were undecided). From these figures it follows that about 45% of the employed population of Russia as a whole “condone” the informal economy.

Such polls are fickle — latest data for comparison the results of the Ranepa, are 2013. Then a number of people clearly approve of the informal economy was higher than it is now, is 10.5%. However, the smaller was the share of those who is neutral, — 33,2%. However, the more tolerant the Russians belonged to the “shadow economy” in 1990, 49.5 percent were convinced that it brings benefit and harm, 21% supported, and only 13.5% were opposed. After 11 years the situation has changed: in 2001, the number of supporters of the informal economy fell to a historical low of 2.1% and the opponents — up to maximum 49% (neutral position adhered to 26.7%).

Foggy notion

To draw conclusions about the attitude of Russians to the shadow economy on the basis of surveys difficult, indicates the Deputy Director of the Centre for labour market studies Higher school of Economics (HSE) Rostislav Kapelyushnikov. A precise definition of this concept among experts and politicians, and especially in the minds of Russians on this question “complete fog”, they can understand the shadow economy as “growing potatoes on a plot and sale it in the market” and criminal activity, he says.

Citizens can be involved in the “shadow” sector in different ways- directly (workers in the informal sector) and indirectly (consumers of goods and services without official registration), experts say Ranepa. In the first case we are basically talking about people with low social status and income, the second — on the contrary, “the more successful people,” the authors write.

“Shadow” processes over 20 years play an important role in the Russian economy, the authors of the report. In addition to approving attitude to the informal economy, which was formed in 1990-ies, that contribute to the demand of production “shadow” sector, the shortcomings of state regulation, low income of a significant part of the population and low degree of social protection. Because of the latter, in particular, working formally citizens can start to move into the informal sector, experts say the Russian Academy of national economy informed. “Very positive attitude of Russians to the various manifestations of “shadow” economy testifies to their potential participation in shadow economic processes, predisposition to violation of statutory rules. It is more likely that the person is not considered a violation of the law something reprehensible, will, for example, operate without regard to the payment of taxes to the state,” the authors conclude in a new study.

Respondents are separately asked about the attitude to informal trade (the money passed from hand to hand by cash). 29,3% relate to the phenomenon of positive — more than in 2001 and 2013 (17.9% and 21.7% respectively). Significantly compared to previous periods is decreased and the number of opponents of this type of calculations: in 2016, their share amounted to just 16.4%, while in 2001-m — 42,2%, and in 2013 is 25,9%. In addition, more than half of respondents (50.8 percent) are in favor of construction and repair works payment “by cash. In 2013 the figure was 45.6 per cent at least on record. However, in 2001 and 2003, supporters of informal relations in this area was more — 59,6 and 66.9%.

According to the June estimates of the Russian Academy of Sciences (.pdf), on the informal labour market in Russia employs about 30 million people (40.3% of the economically active population). Of these, 8.7 million people (11.7 per cent) are completely excluded from the formal segment, while the rest can obtain part of the salary unofficially or have additional informal work.

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