République tchèque

Russian living standard: purchasing power and welfare in Russia


Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 Russia has gone through a severe time of economic and social change.

Few people became very rich during the period of change but for the majority of the population the change meant a decline in living standard. The reforms aimed at transforming the centrally planned economy into a free market system caused trouble to the majortity of the Russians. For many people it was the experience of loosing social security. The health system is under developed, the living conditions are poor and alcoholism is widely spread among the population. Communications in Russia, in particular the Post system and the transportation network, are not up to European standards. Russian people do not trust the banks and therefore, rarely place the money for savings.

During Putin’s tenure as Prime Minister, and now President, the Russian society has seen some degree of stabilization. Although millions of people in the country live in poverty, a relatively low unemployment rate and a slightly increase in incomes indicate a step up in the social situation.


Today, there are less “ technical ” difficulties in everyday life than in early 1990 (like no hot water in summer, electricity cutting off…), and there are more leisure activities.

At the same time, there are a lot of people who are “not required” in the new system and who are just trying to survive.



Heating cutting-off : an  old pensioner relies on her gas stove to stay  warm. 


A fragile social stability

Since 2000, Russia seems to be experiencing a relatively calm period. The economic growth continues at a stable path and the living standards have globally improved.

However, differences in incomes are huge across the country. Many Russian pensioners if not assisted by their children live for less than 10 dollars per day.


Roman Abramovich, a Russian billionaire and the owner of London Chelsea football club, his fortune is estimated at 11 billions USD (49th world position, Forbes magazine). 



Other useful sections of the website


kuThe Russian population

kuStatistics in Russia


To go further

Development indicators for Russia

hdrstats.undp.org... - Human Development Indicators - Russia

data.worldbank.org... - Russia data from the World Bank


Social security

ssa.gov... - Social Security Programs in Russia


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