The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Russian Federation has proposed to reduce the cost of living from 11, 012 rubles to 10, 609 rubles per capita. The decrease is caused, according to the ministry, by the so-called “Food Basket” prices going down.
Such reports show the true nature of the “social” amendments that the Russian president proposed to introduce into the Constitution – that is, mandatory indexation of pensions and the minimum wage being not lower than the living wage. With some statistical data simple manipulations, any living wage can be deduced even below the level that is physically necessary for a person to survive.
The cost of living in Russia is constantly being manipulated in order to maximize its understatement. For example, back in 2013, the Russian government changed the procedure for forming “the Food Basket”: now only the cost of food products is fully taken into account, and the cost of non-food items is calculated as the 50% amount of the food costs. It is quite likely and technically easy for the government to continue adjusting the inflation rate to the required values.
Such a policy is rather typical for the Russian government. First, a loud statement is made, then such measures are taken that they, as a result, lead to a worse situation. One of the most striking examples here would be the notorious “May Decrees”: to put them into practice, the authorities acted in such an inconsistent way that the final result turned out to be a disaster in the sphere of health care. The number of beds in hospitals was reduced; doctors, paramedics and nurses started quitting massively; nurses were often transferred to medical orderly positions; the list goes on.
With that being said, a formal declaration does little to improve the real position of workers. This declaration must be supported with some real action and its implementation must be monitored by the workers themselves, who have to constantly stay alerted.