Russia’s economic recovery and development are being held back by the “happy” Russians who are mostly satisfied with their financial wellbeing amid the global cash crunch, according to a report.

Research conducted by the Rosgosstrakh state-owned insurance company established a direct link between Russians’ satisfaction with their living standards and economic growth, which is being held back by the financial satisfaction of a large segment of the population.

“The more the consumers are unsatisfied with their lives, the higher their economic activity is. On the whole, today’s state of affairs in the country satisfies Russians,” RIA Novosti quoted the report of the insurance company.

Russia’s GDP growth is likely to reach 4-5 percent in 2010 and slow down to 2-3 percent in subsequent years, Rosgosstrakh said, after an analysis of consumer sentiments.

The insurer said that about 75 percent of residents of Russian cities are satisfied with their living standards.

According to the latest report of the Health and Social Development Ministry, 2.1 million of the 142 million people in Russia have been officially registered as unemployed.

However, in reality the figure may be much higher as many Russians do not claim state benefits, which are extremely low. Earlier the federal statistics committee - Rosstat - accepted that one-fifth of the Russian economy is in grey zone, and is out of monitoring.

The shadow economy is growing since the onset of global meltdown in 2008 and many families and individuals are involved in their private business activities hidden from the official monitoring.

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