Author`s name Ольга Савка

Average monthly earnings hit all-time high in Russia

An average Ukrainian makes only $164.75 a month

The average salary index of an average Russian citizen has reached all-time maximum. According to the general overview of the Russian economy, which was published by the Ministry for Economic Development and Trade in June, Russian people's monthly earnings increased to $303, which corresponds to 8,655 rubles. Russians therefore make the highest-paid nation among other countries of the former USSR, although the current level of revenues in Russia is considered the lowest as opposed to Europeans' earnings.

The population's income presumably increases owing to the state sector, in which  salaries gradually approach the level of earnings paid in private-owned companies, the Vedomosti newspaper wrote. Budget supplies made up 38 percent of the income increase during the first six months of the current year. The private sector remained seven percent behind and raised job salaries by only 31 percent.

An average salary of a Russian citizen got past the point of $200 a month in December of 2003: the earnings reached the level of 1997 (before the devaluation of the Russian ruble in 1998, when people's earnings dropped to $70).It goes without saying, though, that $300 a month is far from being enough.

”Those people, whose monthly income reaches $300 or a little more, live above the poverty line, although their living conditions are very close to subsistence wage,” analyst Igor Polyakov of the Center for Macroeconomic Analysis and Forecasts told the Vedomosti. One-fourth of the Russian population still lives on the brink of poverty, although the situation in general is gradually improving. In addition, population's real revenues increased by only 23 percent taking into consideration the inflation rate.

However, Russian people's income is a lot higher in comparison with the level of earnings in the Commonwealth of Independent States. An average Ukrainian, for example, makes only $164.75 a month, whereas average wages in Belarus are evaluated at $221.5 a month. On the other hand, Russia lacks behind East European states, in which the monthly income level is a lot higher: $445.5 in Lithuania, $575 in Estonia, $710 in the Czech Republic and $729 in Poland. However, people's income in the countries of the former socialist camp pale in comparison with the average level of monthly earnings in Western Europe – 4,317 euros as of 2003.

Experts are rather optimistic in their forecasts, though. Igor Polyakov believes that monthly wages of an average Russia will reach the level of $500 in four or five years, when the Russian middle class is finally formed.

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