The minimum wage in 2003 will only cover 22% of basic living costs. This was announced by Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Labour and Social Policy Andrei Isayev in a live interview with Echo Moskvy radio station. He added that the minimum wage would cover 27.9% of basic living costs by the third quarter of 2003.
According to the Russian Ministry for Labour and Social Development, 3.85 million Russians are currently earning less than RUR 400 (USD 12.6) a month. 5% of the population earn between RUR 400 and RUR 600 (USD 18.9). Another 5% earn between RUR 600 and 800 (USD 25.2) and 6% earn between RUR 800 and RUR 1000 (USD 31.4). 'Our aim now is to reduce the number of people earning less than the basic cost of living,' emphasised Russian Minister for Labour and Social Development Alexander Pochinok.
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Eyewitnesses said that explosions could be heard in the centre of Kyiv. Smoke was seen rising above Zhuliany Airport (Kyiv International Airport)