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Meal Is Sold!

Meal Is Sold!

From the 1st of February, 2008 participants of the governmental agreement on prolongation of price freezing for a group of socially significant articles of food will raise the prices for these goods on 5-6%. Newspaper "Commersant" writes about it.

We shall remind, that the governmental agreement between manufacturers of socially significant articles of food and trading networks will be signed on January, 31st. It provides stabilization of prices for socially significant foodstuffs (white and black bread, milk, kefir, sour cream, oil sunflower, eggs) for three months, till the 1st of May, 2008. It's already the second document of similar type: to lower rates of inflation growth the government of Russia agreed in autumn, 2007 with manufacturers and sellers about price freezing for a number of foodstuffs till the 1st of February, 2008.

According to "Commersant" sources, prices fixed in the previous contract will be reconsidered by the companies which have taken part in a meeting in the Ministry of Agriculture on January, 28th. The first agreement provided fixing of cost of foodstuffs at a level, on which they were on October, 15th, 2007. The maximum margin of trading networks for these products should not exceed 10 percent. Now the Ministry of Agriculture agreed to reconsider the price level aside its increase, however, no more than on 5-6%.

Businessmen, who took part in a meeting in the Ministry of Agriculture, consider that the prices should be raised on 10-15% from October level for indemnification of the prime cost growth of manufacture to the producers.

- It is probable, that something happened with the brains of those people who make decisions in today's Russia, it happened from impunity and relatively long quiet period in 8 years, - editor-in-chief of FORUM.msk Anatoly Baranov commented on a situation. - There are a lot of people in Russia, who don't have enough money for foodstuff even at the present level of prices. Thus, according to data recited by Michael Delyagin, the share of the Russians suffering shortage of money for foodstuffs (that is beggars with incomes lower than living wage) 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. Price rises on foodstuffs even on 5*6% will again shift these parameters to 8 years back level, that is to the zone of general instability on which Putin came to power. That is one month prior to the presidential elections all achievements of Putin's stability will be crossed out - it, certainly, won't influence the result of controlled voting, but will obviously shown that these feeble-minded people are not capable to restrain economic situation even in conditions of super-replete budget.

"Change of authority, even the one that awaits us in a month, always leads to decrease in management quality, - Anatoly Baranov noted. - On such background the parameters of price rises on foodstuffs designated by business on 10-15 % will be, certainly, realized and "exceeded". We are talking now about foodstuffs of the first necessity - other are already growing and quite uncontrolled. One year ago oranges, grapefruits, apples with a mark "for juice", that is with the minimal trading margin, were sold at a price about 1 dollar, now - about 2. Here you are parameters of price rises for products of "not the first necessity" - twohold. And we are promised further growth. The majority of these products are bought for "cheap" dollar and are sold in Russia for "expensive" rouble. The dollar becomes cheaper, the rouble "becomes stronger". Why the prices in rouble value have grown twohold? In fact there is no double price rises on the world markets, except for, maybe, New Zealand milk which has risen in price on 90% because of a drought and not for a year, but for 18 months. Whence such price rises in Russia? In 2007 inflation in Russia exceeded planned rates because of a price rises for the foodstuffs and made up 11,9%, instead of eight, as it was predicted. The first vice-president of board of the Central Bank Alexey Uljukaev declared that in 2008 prices in Russia would grow on 9-10% more, but all the prices were meant. Foodstuffs will rise by May, 1st on 15% and what will happen then - heavens knows".

- I think so, - Anatoly Baranov considers, - that in autumn when it will appear that, as well as in 2007 year, there was no even a seasonal reduction of prices on agricultural production and already more than a half of population would suffer problems with purchase of meal, the question about revolutionary situation in Russia could again become actual, as well as in 2005 year, after monetarization of privileges. Probably, authorities, as well as in the past, by means of "system" opposition of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and others will manage to let out pairs in a whistle. But the feeling of famine - is very strong motivation and everything could turn in other way. The question is only in that organizing force which will be capable (or won't be) to provide spontaneous protest with organized forms.

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