Unrest threat as crisis hits Russia
Millions of Russian workers have been laid off or sacked recently amid the global economic downturn, and the government in Moscow is already facing angry protests by ordinary people.
The BBC's Richard Galpin has been to a northern Russian industrial town to investigate the political threat of mass protests.
Aluminium factory in Pikalevo
All three factories in Pikalevo now stand idle
Once visited, the grim town of Pikalevo is best forgotten.
Built 50 years ago in the remote, forested plains east of Russia's second largest city, St Petersburg, it stands as a monument to the fundamental flaws of the Soviet Union's command economy.
Its population of 21,000 people lives or dies by the complex of aluminium, cement and potash factories which are the town's only raison d'etre.
But now all three factories stand idle, forced by the economic crisis to close their gates.
Their workers either sit at home or throng the small unemployment office tucked behind the main street.
The rattle and hum of machinery in Pikalevo has been replaced by the cold silence of austerity and hardship.
While most Russians would rather forget Pikalevo's existence, it won't be so easy for President Dmitry Medvedev to banish it from his thoughts as he travels to London to attend a G20 summit on the world economic crisis.