Recently, Russian Statistics State Committee has published data about living standard of Russian citizens. According to these data, number of citizens with incomes below living wage is gradually reducing. So, in last quarter of 2001, Russian citizens that are below living wage made 34,8 million people or 24 percent of the country’s population. While in third quarter of 2001 they made 39,4 million of people or 27 percent of the whole quantity of Russian population. According to official data, during the whole year, the number of poor people was gradually decreasing in the country – from 36,6 percent at the beginning of the year to today’s 24 percent. In the meanwhile, the cost of minimal food set increased by 18,8 percent in Russia and made last December 891 rubles (approximately 29 dollars). While in Siberia and in the Far East, this food set is more expensive, than in central regions of Russia. For example in the city of Ulyanovsk, the cost of the minimal food set makes 759 rubles (approximately 25,3 dollars), while in the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski – 1,497 rubles (approximately 49,9 dollars). While average cost of living standard in Russia makes 1,574 rubles (approximately 52,5 rubles). The Statistics State Committee’s data are rather a mathematical values, than something connected with real life. Really, did anybody try to live from these sums? Even a single person? Without fruits from dacha or some country relatives? It is impossible. Though for a villager a sum of about 1,500 rubles is already a progress. The issue of improving the well-being of the citizens should be priority-driven for the Russian government. Of course, much is being done for it. At least, payments are not being delayed in Russian works. Though the trouble is that if living standard does not seriously increase in the country, many reforms are doomed to failure. For example the reform of the housing and communal service. The low living standard of most of Russian citizen causes many issues of social and economical character, and it cannot be neglected.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/02/16/37195.html