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Russia Starves

Russia Starves
Delyagin Michael 02.11.2009

According to Rosstat, average daily consumption of calories by the average inhabitant of our country after long growth in 2008 decreased a little - possibly because of crisis. Decrease is insignificant: only 0,5%. It is much more important that average consumption of calories by the inhabitant of our country (2564 cal in 2007 and 2550 cals- in 2008) remains, no matter how amazing it seems, is below medical norm.


We have got used to that a living wage of the Russian, despite of other structure (more meat and fish, less - bread, vegetables and potato) on its caloric content is quite comparable with a ration of the German prisoner in the Soviet camps in autumn, 1941. However, the concept of "living wage" means not even poverty but poverty with which simple personal survival is even incompatible; therefore the data on the Russian average level makes deep impression.

It is necessary to remind that on energy needs adult population share on 4 basic groups. The first group with the least requirements includes persons not connected with physical work and working mainly in sitting position. Their energy usage makes 3000-3200 calories a day which their food should provide.

The second group with energy usage 3500-3600 cal day includes workers of the mechanized work, the third group - people occupied with non-mechanized or not completely mechanized work, for example, smiths, carpenters, plumbers, stokers (4000-4200 cal a day). The fourth group covers people of the heaviest physical work spending 4500-5000 cal a day. For comparison it is necessary to notice that energy usage at going into sports, especially in the period of trainings and competitions can increase to 6000-7000, in exceptional cases - to 15000 cal a day.

It is possible to assume that presence of people with lowered energy usage (children, pensioners, invalids) on the average is compensated by presence of the second-fourth groups and average energy needs of the inhabitant of our country make, thus, about 3000 cal a day (though most likely, it's above; the given estimation has minimum character).

Comparison of the real level of average consumption of calories by Russians to the standard one means that Russia starves, despite of all long "corpulent years" and that in 2008 position has even worsened a little.

Rather essential thing is that in 2008 average consumption was above that norm only in three regions of Russia: Mordovia, Dagestan and Karachaevo-Circassia.

In northern regions where, apparently, heavy climate provides high level of energy usage and, accordingly, high requirement for energy, consumption was even lower, than on average across Russia. In the national republics it can be explained by specific structure of food but in usual regions - only by poverty.

Certainly, statistics of caloric content of the food of Russians is rather and rather imperfect, as well as the majority of indicators of the national social and economic statistics used for these or that needs. Its error can be revealed, in particular, if to take facultative set of regions with satisfactory level of food from the energy point of view. However as a whole it cannot be too big as conclusion about the general starvation of Russians quite corresponds to what we see - if, of course, not to limit one's stay in Russia by shopping zones, business centres and tourist areas.

Indirect acknowledgement both of the mere fact of mass starvation of Russians and situation deterioration in this sphere past year is increase of a share of expenses for food in the total amount of consumer expenses from 28,4% in 2007 to 29,1% in 2008. In fact the richer is the person, the better he lives - less he spends on food in relative expression; dynamics of the share of expenses for food is even more reliable indicator of dynamics of standard of living, than usual indicators as, unlike them, it's not exposed to politically caused corrections.

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