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New FilterLabs report: Russia's emerging vulnerabilities

Probing the current weaknesses of the Putin regime
New FilterLabs report: Russia's emerging vulnerabilities

Note: Voting in Russia's presidential election begins today. The results aren't in doubt, but what will the Russian people be saying and thinking about it? The FilterLabs team will be watching closely to see what unfolds.

Today FilterLabs.AI released Anxious Empire, a report on Russia’s vulnerabilities. The report draws on FilterLabs’ analysis of more than 7,000 streams of discursive and behavioral data, as well as insights from subject matter experts in Russian politics and economics. Taken together, these sources reveal several key weaknesses of the Putin regime.

According to the Kremlin’s propaganda machine, of course, all is well in Russia. The wartime economy is humming and public sentiment is solidly behind the war, even growing stronger each day.

Our vulnerabilities report has a different story to tell. It looks at the realities behind the bluster. The report includes hard-to-access economic numbers and measures public sentiment gathered from our broad range of localized discursive sources and analyzed through a large language model (LLM). 

We’re making this report available free for those who want to dig into the details. But here are some highlights:

  • Winners and losers of Putin’s wartime economy. Which regions are benefitting, and which are hurting?
  • The impact of inflation. How is it changing ordinary Russians’ household budgets and spending habits?
  • Putin’s propaganda machine. What narratives are Kremlin propaganda campaigns pushing? And how effective are they, really?
  • Attitudes toward the war. Support for the war in Ukraine varies from region to region. Where is the war still popular, and where is discontent growing?

Because of the scope of our data and the nuanced discourse analysis Talisman makes possible, FilterLabs’ vulnerabilities report goes far beyond the headlines. It digs into the economic and political details that are shaping Russians’ daily lives.

For example, you may have heard stories about Russia’s egg shortages and skyrocketing egg prices over the winter. We took a closer look at the attitudes being expressed on the subject by ordinary Russians and in Russian news:

The downward slope suggests that news stories about eggs have been increasingly negative over the past year (ie, included more and more negatively-charged emotional language). 

The negative trend is even more pronounced on social media:

Nobody is happy about rising grocery prices (ask any American shopper), but the negative sentiment slope in these charts should be especially worrying for the Russian regime, as they may reflect growing discontent with, and trouble in, Russia’s economy.

How so? Well, one key reason Russian egg prices are rising is higher interest rates. Chicken farmers couldn’t afford credit, which led to reduced production, which in turn drove up egg prices. The result: empty shelves and runaway prices, reminding Russian consumers of the bad old days of the 1980s and 1990s. As we note in the report, the problem has become so acute that it has even led to acts of violence against poultry farmers.

The Russian government may project an air of invulnerability. Take a look at a specific issue, though (something as seemingly minor as the price of eggs), and real vulnerabilities emerge. 

You can now read “Anxious Empire” for yourself if you’d like to learn about more hidden cracks in the Putin regime. 

Enjoy! And be on the lookout for more reports from FilterLabs in the future.