Russians spend less on food, more on taxes

2021-04-24

Having smaller portions

According to the Tinkoff Data Research Center review, Russians don’t buy meat, fruit, and vegetables as often as they used to. In February, for example, the purchase of apples dropped by 60%, beef was bought 25% less often, and pork – by 13%. Potato sales are down 30%. Customers are seemingly less interested in buying carrots, oranges, cabbage, and bakery products. At the same time, it is noted that there has been an increase in expenses for taxes, duties, and fines.

According to Rosstat, in the week from April 13 to April 19, eggs have gone up by 1.5%, mutton – by 0.6%, pork – by 0.5%, sugar – by 0.5%.

In fact, these data are the best evidence of a consumption fall regarding all the staple foodstuffs. That, in turn, means a living standards decrease of the overwhelming majority of the people. That would have been less painful if it had not been for raising the retirement age, which entailed a huge decline in real incomes of a segment of the population.

The Government is taking some additional measures of State support, mainly for families with children. However, these measures are not sufficient. So that to improve the situation of people at large, it is necessary to raise retiring pensions, educational allowances, and other social benefits, to significantly raise the minimum monthly wage, recalculate the cost of living, which actually does not correspond to the reality. It is required to reduce the cost of housing and communal services tariffs, public transportation fares. These measures might improve the living condition of the working people, as opposed to those one-time handout allowances. But the authorities will not accept this, since the increase in pensions and scholarships requires substantial budget expenditures, and the only way to get it is to introduce a progressive income tax. A scenario like that runs counter to the interests of business, as well as a significant increase in the minimum monthly wage.

The measures taken by the Government are designed to calm down the working people a little, and that is especially important before the upcoming elections to the State Duma. These actions will not lead to a fundamental improvement in the position of the working class.