In its monthly analytical ranking of social and political stability in the Russian regions, the St. Petersburg Politics Foundation noted a marked revival of social activity in the provinces, against a backdrop of diminished political protest in the Russian capital. The reason is a sharp rise in utility costs in several regions in the first months of this year.
For example, St. Petersburg has seen a 40 percent jump, but the biggest leap was observed in Murmansk Region and the Republic of Altai, where some municipalities have been hit by a 225 percent hike. Overall, housing and communal services in February 2013 are 9.8 percent more expensive than in February 2012, according to the Federal State Statistics Service.
Protests against rising utility bills were held in Barnaul (about 2,175 miles from Moscow; population more than 680,000), Murmansk (1,180 miles; over 300,000), Novosibirsk (2,050 miles; 1.5 million), and Penza (395 miles; 0.5 million). Theses demonstrations were not large, consisting of just a few hundred people.