The gap between wealth and poverty grows in Russia

UN experts suggest their own plan to fight with poverty in developing countries

The Russian committee of statistics has recently reported that the gap between wealth and poverty continued growing in Russia during the recent six months. The considerable difference in people's income intensifies the social situation in the country, which raises concerns among entrepreneurs, the Noviye Izvestia newspaper wrote.

According to the data from the Russian Finance Ministry, the income of ten percent of richest Russian citizens exceeds the income of the same amount of poor people 15.2 times. The inequality has been growing for several years in Russia, sociologists say. Wealthy Russians were 10 times as rich as poor citizens in 2001, and the difference increased to 13 times in 2002 and 14 times in 2003. Ten percent of wealthy Russian population obtains 29.8 percent of the total volume of income, while the share of poor people's income is estimated at only two percent. In addition, statistics says, rich people's earnings gained 0.2 percent, whereas poor people's pay dropped by 0.1 percent. To crown it all, the income of 13.6 percent of Russian people is below the actual cost of living.

UN experts suggest their own plan to fight with poverty in developing countries. They believe that the development of the private sector will help cut the number of poor people with the help of new jobs and paycheck raise. The extermination of corruption and cheaper opportunities for small business to enter the market might play the key role in the struggle with poverty, UN experts think.

Russian specialists do not share the UN's opinion. Home analysts say that business is incapable of exerting influence on basic sore points due to Russia's specific peculiarities. The structure of the Russian poverty is organized as follows: pensioners, budget-related employees, village residents and students. All these layers of the Russian society depend on the state. The situation in developing countries is totally different, though: state-dependant Western residents are not poor at all.

According to the World Bank's data, 19.6 percent of Russians are poor. The Russian Federation ranks 57th on UN's list of countries classified on the living wage criterion. On the other hand, according to calculations of the Russian government, the real income of the Russian population will gain 35-40 percent by 2007 in comparison with 2003.

The goal of the Cabinet of Ministers is to cut the amount of Russians living below the poverty line in the forthcoming three or four years: from 30 million to 10-15 million. Governmental officials say that the share of poor population in Russia in the first six months of 2004 dropped to 20.8 percent as opposed to 23.5 percent of the same period of the last year.

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Author`s name Olga Savka