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Beggary of Prosperity

Beggary of Prosperity
Delyagin Michael 29.01.2008

Inflow of petrodollars, certainly, improved the structure of the Russian society and, accordingly, its social state of health.


So, according to Levada' center, the share of the Russians suffering shortage of money for foodstuff (that is of beggars with incomes below living wage) was reduced from 2001 to 2007 almost twice - from 23 up to 12%. Relative density of the population which has enough money for food, but not for clothes was reduced from 42 up to 31% - due to almost one-and-a-half growth of a share of those who have enough money for food and clothes, but not for durable goods (it grew from 28 up to 41%). As soon as all these categories of people are poor, the level of poverty reduced in Russia significantly less, then the level of beggary - from 93 up to 84% (in comparison with reduction of level of poverty from 23 up to 12%) - and remained to be unhealthy high. At that official propaganda men shamelessly use the fact that a lot of even totally poor people steadily treat themselves as "middle class" - purely because they live as their neighbours.


The standard of living in the centers of economic activity is supported additionally by sharp shortage of people who have kept labour motivation and skills. Deficiency of labour, especially qualified one, promotes the accelerated growth of incomes of initiative to some degree people.


As a result the share of people whose incomes are sufficient for purchase of durable goods (but not car), that corresponds to consumption of "middle class", grown twice - from 7 up to 15%.


The Russians have got used to though slow, but nevertheless improvement of conditions of existence. 41% felt for last 4 years improvement of living conditions, while deterioration - only 21% (though it's a lot for "a shower of gold of petrodollars"). 37-41% (depending on a month of carrying out of interrogation) of the Russians feel confidence in the future in 2007 - maximum older than 18 years though the number of the ones who are not sure is higher: 55-58%.


The fact of the improvements is unconditional - the same as the ridicule of their scales.


Our country till now has not reached even an average Soviet foodstuffs consumption level. Thus, in 1989 consumption of meat was estimated in Russia at a level of 73 kg per a person annually at medical norm about 80 kg - while in the past year it made only 55 kg.. Similar position with consumption of dairy products - now their consumption makes 235 kg per capita (at a norm almost carried out in the USSR of 392 kg) and fish - 12 kg per a person in comparison with about 20 kg in 1989.


Thus, according to Levada's center, in November, 2007 50% of the Russians considered consumption of fish by the family insufficient, 49% - of meat, the same figure - of fruit, berries and juices, 40% - of dairy products including animal oil and cheeses. It is significant that the shares of people considering consumption of grocery products (including macaroni and groats) and also potato and vegetables insufficient are precisely equal to a share of beggars which do not have enough money for meal - 12%. The fact that the share of those who have no answer on every commodity item was insignificantly small testifies high importance of this theme for the Russians.


Thus, in spite of the fact that "petrodollars" filter up to the lowest social layers and improve a little life even of a poor part of a society, artificial maintenance of exclusively low standard of living of the Russians as a result of carrying out of mainly liberal economic and especially social policy proceeds in general.


Russia remains the country of a handful of bureaucrats and oligarches choking from luxury in the middle of gloomy and hopeless poverty.
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