Decline in poverty announced in Russia

Decline in poverty announced in Russia

The poverty rate has continued to decline in Russia, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova told a session of the Gaidar Forum in Moscow.

According to the Federal State Statistics Service, the poverty rate has declined in Russia to 13.3% in the nine months of 2018 from 13.8% in to the same period of 2017, she said.

Thus, if in 2015-2016 the poverty rate was 13.3%, then in 2017 it started to decline for the first time since 2012, reaching 13.2%, Golikova noted.

The deputy prime minister promised that approaches to poverty measurement will be revised in Russia in the near future. She said that now they use an absolute poverty rate, based on competing an income with a minimum subsistence level. Th government plans to use more recent standards in the perspective.

She also stressed that only 20% low-income citizens seek state social assistance as of today. In 2017, 4 million low-income citizens out of a total of 19.2 million were provided assistance.

The vice-rector of the Academy of Labour and Social Relations Alexander Safonov, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that in the first place it was raising the minimum wage to the subsistence minimum, which helped to reduce poverty in Russia. "First, the minimum wage equation with the minimum subsistence level caused an increase in basic wages, which reduced the number of working poor. Overall wages in the public sector also increased," he explained.

Speaking about Russia's poverty reduction strategy, the expert noted that the wage growth is necessary in the first place. "Making a serious step forward in terms of fighting poverty requires creating effective jobs," the vice-rector of the Academy of Labour and Social Relations stressed.

"This year, the increase in unemployment benefits will help reduce the poverty rate to a certain extent, especially for people of pre-retirement age. The average pension increase by 1000 rubles will also shape the dynamics of poverty reduction, as well as the indexation of benefits and wages for those who did not fall under the presidential decrees," Alexander Safonov concluded.