Previous issues of our journal contain editorials devoted to the most acute issues of Russia’s modern life and its future. Using expert assessments and the results of international, national and our own research, we touched upon key aspects of public administration efficiency in addressing the issues that ensure national security. These tasks are as follows: overcoming social inequality and “capitalism for the few”, ensuring the stability of the psychological state of society and promoting civic engagement of its main strata. We analyzed the state of affairs in science and education, in the economy and social sphere; we gave an objective assessment of the President’s key speeches and analyzed how effectively the Government was implementing the President’s orders (including those that were set out in the “May decrees”). We covered the most resonant events happening in the internal and international political arena. In the context of national security, we analyzed the correlation of interests of the general population and the elite. On repeated occasions, we considered the historical experience of Russia and foreign countries, drew analogies between the past and the present, trying to answer the question of how well the ruling elite learns the lesson and promotes sustainable development of the country in order to handle the increasingly complex conditions of global competition in the 21st century.
We should point out that, as the President himself has repeatedly noted, public opinion is the main criterion that determines the success of the work of the government and public administration efficiency, and influences the changes in the situation in the country. At the same time, the beginning of 2019 can be seen as a starting point in the implementation of the main provisions of the May 2018 Decree and, more broadly, in the implementation of the targets for the breakthrough development of the internal, primarily socio-economic, situation in Russia. Achieving these goals is a keynote of the new political cycle and the last (according to the current Constitution of the Russian Federation) presidential term of Vladimir Putin.
We decided to begin the first 2019 issue of the journal Economic and Social Changes: Facts, Trends, Forecast by analyzing key trends in people’s subjective assessments concerning various aspects of everyday life over the past 18 years, including the dynamic changes taking place in the assessment of the work of public authorities, in the perception of living standards and the quality of life, and in the emotional and psychological background in society. The main information source that allows us to implement such a task is the sociological monitoring conducted by VolRC RAS on the territory of the Vologda Oblast for more than 20 years (since 1996).
The following tables show trends in a number of parameters of social well-being and socio-political sentiment of the Vologda Oblast residents in the long-term (annual) retrospective, as well as current (last six waves of the monitoring) changes in public opinion.
When analyzing current trends in public opinion, we place an emphasis on the results of V. Putin’s third presidential term (2012–2017) and on the current dynamics of people’s estimates (the latest six surveys: April 2018 – February 2019). These results show how well the head of state is able to build a system of public administration at all levels (federal, regional, municipal) in accordance with the goals noted in his Address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and set out in the May 2018 Decree and also in accordance with the task of effective transit of Russian statehood for the period up to 2024, the task that is strategically important for national security
public opinion, president, social sentiment, assessment of performance of the authorities, results of the year