Russian Incomes Still Below Pre-Crisis Levels

In spite of statements by officials that the consequences of the 1998 crisis have been overcome, the average income of Russians has still not reached pre-crisis levels. This claim was made today at a conference entitled 'Strategic risks in extraordinary situations: evaluations and predictions' by Dmitry Sorokin, the deputy director of the Russian Academy of Science's Economics Institute.

Sorokin said that in 2002 the average income of Russians was 97.2% of its level in 1997. He believes that the pre-crisis level may be reached next year. However, he believes that average incomes may not return to their 1991 level until the next decade.

Sorokin said that other indicators, including GDP, industrial output and agricultural output, reached pre-crisis levels in 1999-2001. He believes that 'since the foundation of the Russian Federation the economy has ignored the human factor and people's needs.' Sorokin said that the minimum wage should be USD 3 per hour, whereas in reality the average wage is under USD 1.25 per hour.