Russia » Economics

European salaries’ survey: former Soviet citizens earn the least

Russian economy is still weaker than it was during the existence of the USSR.
If you are Russian and you do not feel that you became richer, you must be mistaken: Ministry of economic Development claims that the salary of an average Russian was increased by 10.5 percent.

2003 became the turning point: the country’s GDP grew, people’s earnings reached the level of  1994, according to the government report “Macroeconomic situation in Russia in 1999-2003 and in the beginning of 2004”.  However, Russian economy is still weaker than it was during the existence of the USSR, even during its last dramatic years. Currently the GDP of Russia is 79.4 percent from it in 1990, people’s earnings are 60.8 percent from that level. This means the country was richer in the Soviet times.

Comparison of the incomes of Russians and Europeans gives no reasons for optimism either. Denmark has the highest salary (27.89 Euro per hour). The Federation of European employers considered this figure as 100 percent, and published the report on the salaries in Europe. Switzerland gained 79 percent, Luxemburg – 72 percent, Norway – 69 percent, Germany – 63 percent, Netherlands – 61 percent, British Isle Man and Italy – 60 percent, Great Britain – 58 percent.

Russia is in the 40th positions, it overtook only Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro, Albania, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova. The salary of Russians and Romanians is only 4 percent of the salary in Denmark and is equivalent to 1 Euro per hour. This is not the worst resul – Moldavians earn 0.32 Euro per hour.

Of course, Europeans did not calculate all the figures, such as “13th salary” paid by many In the former USSR, and “black” and “gray” cash (official estimates state that it makes one third or half of people’s earnings in Russia).  However, the report authors did not calculate the abundant welfare pays in the Western Europe either. If all this had been calculated, Russia’s position would have improved only slightly.

Of course, Russian people are currently enjoying lower prices for food, utilities and some goods, but these prices will gradually increase up to the European level.

According to the World Labor Organization, many Ukrainians earn less than one needs for satisfying basic human needs in this country. 85 percent of Ukrainians said they cannot afford minimum health care, and 83 percent consider themselves poor. Average salary in the Ukraine is less than $100 per month, and 40 percent of this scanty money has been delayed.

How can people in the former Soviet countries survive on so little money?!

Andrey Milovzorov

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