Russia’s modernization requires a large and expanding middle class and all the attributes of this social strata – high-quality professional education, diverse saving portfolios, resources to acquire comfortable living spaces, opportunities to travel in Russia and abroad, and favorable conditions for raising families. Today, no more than 15-20% of families in Russia can be considered middle class. The Russian Government’s goal is to increase the number of families in the middle class to 50% by 2020.
Closely-knit, extended families have always been an essential fabric of Russian culture and society. Policies and initiatives to strengthen and support families are crucial to Russia’s development. These range from prenatal and early childhood care, to quality schools and after-school programs, to support for working parents and provision of quality health care and living conditions for families, to pension reform and retirement assistance programs.
Educational opportunities need to be made available to all Russian citizens, including for adult Russians to succeed in a competitive labor market and to change careers in an evolving and increasingly global economy. An efficient system of continuous education is a prerequisite of ensuring that Russians can maintain a middle-class lifestyle into and through their retirement.
Improving public services and making government more responsive to their constituents will also better the lives of Russians. This involves reducing corruption, bureaucracy and changing civil servants’ mindset about their role in supporting and helping Russian citizens. Modern technical solutions will make the government at all levels an accessible and approachable institution for the citizens.