Social protection is an important strategy to protect people from livelihood risks, develop human capital and promote economic growth. Decent work is a core element of social protection and a critical condition for eradicating poverty. Despite high labor force participation and low unemployment, Russia’s labor market shows several negative trends, including working poverty and growing informality. Both are exacerbated by gender disparities and unfavorable demographic shifts. Over the past decade the Russian government has implemented active labor market interventions, and enhanced targeted social protection aimed at promoting employment and reducing poverty. Based on the analysis of key data and programs, the article finds that the country achieved stability in the labor market, but at the cost of deteriorating living standards caused by low levels of productivity and wages.