Liliiya Ovcharova, one of the authors of the study, argues that “the increase of the fraction of children among the poor is connected with the fact that in Russia, social programs directed at fighting poverty re directed primarily in support of the elderly” even as many of the programs that existed in Soviet times to help children have been cut back or eliminated.
Vladimir Putin’s May decrees do nothing to address this, Ovcharova says, or they are based on assumptions that cannot possibly be realized. For example, to cut poverty by half would require economic growth of at least eight percent a year while no one thinks the Russian economy can grow by more than four, even under the best of conditions.
The main conclusion of the Higher School of Economics report is that there is “a very high degree of probability” that poverty among children is something that is going to be around for a very long time and may get worse before there is any chance that it will get better. There are things the government could do but it has chosen not to – and is unlikely to change.