More than 70% of Russia’s citizens, according to the World Bank’s system of estimation, belong to the middle class, and the task of the government is to strengthen their status and raise incomes, the Russian President told state-run news agency TASS in the latest episode of a long-running series of interviews entitled “20 Questions with Vladimir Putin“.
He stressed that “each country has its own middle class” and it would be wrong to associate the middle-class lifestyle with the way they live in France, Germany, or the U.S.
Putin spotlighted the World Bank’s method of estimating the middle class, which sets the benchmark at household incomes of at least 150% of the minimum wage. “There are a lot of such people. Well above 70%,” he said, adding because the average wage in Russia was way above the minimum wage, which in 2019 stood at 11,280 rubles ($142).
“We have our own middle class and our task is just to make this middle class stronger. To boost incomes and strengthen the middle class,” Putin said.
He also “does not rule out the possibility” that the country’s National Wealth Fund might be used to support some groups of the population.
“The question is what should we spend the money on? On investments, on support for certain groups of the population, and so forth. This is what our discussion is revolving around nowadays,” he said.
The Russian authorities “need to fulfill a very important task – raising people’s real income,” he said. “We should think about the best use of the available resources which are large enough.”