I recently visited St. Petersburg, where I was working with EveryChild charity, taking pictures of St Peterburg families who have problems. EveryChild are doing some really fantastic work there, but it's a huge job. But what struck me most was how many social problems stem from the identity card and registration system (which used to be know as the 'propiska'). The Russian government use it as a way of controlling the population by stopping economic migrants moving to St Petersburg or Moscow where much of the big money is to be made. What it means is that there are two classes of society - those that have a Petersburg propiska, and those that don't. The latter are illegal immigrants in their own country, with no rights to social welfare, education, medical care or a job.
So many of Russia's problems stem from this old Soviet system of keeping control of the population by requiring registration and an internal passport - an identity card.