Staunton, December 11 – The Russian state statistical agency says that 34.5 percent of Russians now earn less than 19,000 rubles a month, which works out to fewer than nine US dollars a day, a figure that perhaps better than any other highlights what Vladimir Putin’s militarism abroad and optimization at home has led to.
It is buried in a 415-page Rosstat report (rosstat.gov.ru/storage/mediabank/ga1Lo4xe/osn-10-2020.pdf), but it has been highlighted by the Finanz.ru portal and is likely to be picked up by other Russian media outlets (finanz.ru/novosti/lichnyye-finansy/rossiyane-uvyazli-v-lovushke-bednosti-kazhdy-tretiy-zhivet-menshe-chem-na-$9-v-den-1029884814).
Those with such incomes feel themselves to be poor, according to a new Public Opinion Foundation poll which finds that while seven percent of the population has been in that state for decades and 12 percent became poor more than a decade ago, many have been impoverished in recent years.
Only one in six says he or she expects to escape such poverty in the next three to five years, the POF poll reports, one in five says that it isn’t clear what will happen, with another one in five saying that he or she expects that Russians will have the same standard of living they have at the present time.
What is especially worrisome is that the numbers of those among the poor are increasing. Rosstat did not publish data on what has happened in this coronavirus year when many incomes have declined, but it did show that even before the pandemic, the number among the ranks of the poor was increasing by more than a million in recent quarters.