But other specialists and political figures say the number is even greater. Sergey Mironov, the leader of the Just Russia fraction in the Duma puts the figure at three to five million (ng.ru/economics/2017-07-06/1_7023_russia.html). In reality, no one really knows how many are suffering from the lack of housing there.
According to Sverdlin, it would be possible to produce a number approaching 80 percent of the total if Moscow were to direct local governments to collect data and then assemble it. But unfortunately, he says, the powers that be are more interested in hiding these figures than in compiling them and forcing people to face the problem.
In St. Petersburg, he says, there are 50,000 to 60,000 homeless now, and in Moscow, there are two to three times more. Moscow activists like Tatyana Konstantinova put the number in the current capital at about 60,000 and say that the authorities understate that figure by at least 40,000.
Russia’s homeless face all problems the homeless are confronted by elsewhere – lack of food and medical care among them. But they also face even greater difficulties in climbing back into regular society: Overwhelmingly, employers will not take on anyone who is not officially registered at an address, something the homeless by definition are now.