Assistance provided to those affected by the Ukrainian war is a promising sign. Although Russian President Vladimir Putin has made no concessions regarding the military, he has expanded donations to families in greatest need. One-time payments will also go to soldiers fighting in Ukraine, equivalent to more than a year’s living wage.
According to Bloomberg Economics, the increase in social benefits raised the incomes of the poorest 10% of the population by more than double the inflation rate. About two-thirds of the Russian budget goes to defense, security, and social services.
Natalya Zubarevich, an expert on the economics of Russian regions at Moscow State University, stated that “the state targets the poor and the near-poor.” Moreover, she contends that middle-class households are left to fend for themselves. Due to Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, middle-class people no longer appear to be on Vladimir Putin’s radar due to the impact on global food security and affordability.
Taking Care Of Families While Accruing Debt
According to the most recent statistics available for the third quarter, due to this initiative, 700,000 fewer people live below the official poverty line, which is defined as a monthly income under $186. The government has focused intensely on helping families with children. Likewise, the finance minister, Anton Siluanov, has stated that he would prefer to collect funds for infrastructure and roads instead of giving up on helping low-income families.
Furthermore, the government anticipates that Russia will spend about 400 billion rubles (dollars) more on pensions by 2023 than in the second half of last year to assist families with children. In 2023, Siluanov expects the amount to double. Even with growing debt, Russia’s finances remain relatively strong. However, if the United States and its allies succeed in imposing a price limit on Russian oil, financial strains will increase on the budget. According to Bloomberg Economics, annual expenses for the military, including volunteers and deployed individuals, may total around 1.1 trillion rubles.
The Economic Downturn
As a result of the invasion, Russia has suffered an overall economic decline that is hardly enough to compensate for the relief provided. According to a government-run survey, the real disposable income of most of the population has decreased for three consecutive quarters as a result of consumers saving more on food.
As a whole, the population is becoming poorer, but the number of the impoverished is decreasing, according to Evgeny Gontmakher, an economist and former government official. There are both positive and negative aspects to this equation. Yes, the decline in the number of poor people is a positive development. Although there have been positive results, many people continue to experience financial difficulties, which forces the government to take additional measures to alleviate these problems.
During the war, the middle class diminished to the point where it now represents less than 10% of the population, according to Gontmakher. There are estimates that hundreds of thousands of people fled Russia in two waves after having the opportunity to do so. Also, many of them abandoned their homes and jobs as well.
A War-Affected Population Receives Perks From Vladimir
Aside from ensuring loyalty from the most disadvantaged Russians, who form the basis of Vladimir Putin’s supporters, the government also offers perks to lure prisoners and soldiers to Ukraine to fill the severe labor shortage by encouraging people to join the military.
President Vladimir Putin issued a decision in late December directing the payment of five million rubles to the families of soldiers killed in Ukraine, enough to buy an apartment in most parts of the country. In addition, 3 million rubles are available to veterans who have suffered injuries or traumas.
The past year has been a challenging time for many Russians. The war has broken up families and caused many to lose loved ones. From this point onward, Russians should have more positive exposure.
Stay updated on the latest news by visiting FMHipHop’s retrospective articles.
Written by Nikiya Biggs