Kremlin Says Kudrin Wrong to Claim Poverty in Russia Growing

The Russian President’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov has reacted on a recent statement by Accounts Chamber head and former finance minister Alexei Kudrin, who said that poverty in the country is growing and that it is “a disgrace”, TASS reports.

In an interview over the weekend, Kudrin said that “Poverty in Russia has become a disgrace,” since the number of Russians with extremely low incomes is not comparable to the country’s high level of GDP per capita. For the last six years, the country’s economy has been stagnating, and the position of the Russian Federation on the international market has noticeably decreased, Russia’s chief auditor noted.

“In recent years, our citizens’ standard of living has declined – now about 12.5 million people are below the poverty line, 70% of our poor citizens live in families, mostly children,” Kudrin said.

In response, Peskov tried to downplay the poverty problem in the country.

“You cannot speak of growing poverty in Russia, although the number of people whose income has decreased is on the rise,” Peskov said on Tuesday. “We have a number of people whose incomes have decreased, slightly increased due to the external economic situation and a number of processes that occur in the Russian economy. At the same time, it’s impossible to talk about the growth of poverty in this case.”

Addressing Kudrin’s notion that it is possible that a social outburst in Russia could occur due to the decline of living standards, Peskov said it was “emotional and blown out of proportion.”

“We cannot agree with the statements about some ‘outbursts’. Rather, we believe it to be emotional manifestations. That is, in terms of the existing problem this is of course well known, nobody hides it. However, we consider it wrong to see it blown out of proportion,” Peskov said.

Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev admitted in a speech at the State Duma in April that the life of most Russians is far from ideal and is very difficult for many of them, “some even merely surviving.”

“Today almost 19 million people face poverty in Russia. This means that these people do not live a proper life. At the same time, the reasons for poverty are different. We must look for the reasons and study the expenses of a family, not only the income,” Medvedev said.