Medvedev: More than 19mn Russians Living in Poverty

The head of the Russian Government, Dmitry Medvedev, has admitted in a speech at the State Duma that the life of most Russians is far from ideal and is very difficult for many of them, “some even merely surviving,” Novaya Gazeta reports.

“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,” said Medvedev.

He noted that the authorities had succeeded in reducing the number of people living in poverty by 400,000 people. However, as the Prime Minister said, this “number should be better.” According to him, the social department of the government is doing its best to fight poverty in the country.

Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed a series of measures to combat poverty, noting that “it is necessary to concentrate all forces to fight this problem.” The President also said it is not normal when people have to save money for essential needs.

According to Putin, families with many children, disabled people, single pensioners and people who cannot find a job tend to face poverty. In this regard, the Russian president instructed the government to assist the regions in implementing the ‘social contract’ program. However, experts were skeptical that the measures can solve the country’s poverty problem.

According to official statistics, today 19.3 million Russians (13.2% of the population) are below the poverty line. Real incomes of people have been falling for the last six years. A recent survey by the Levada Center showed that in two years, the number of citizens planning their future for the next five-six years has decreased from 17 to 11%.