Magazine article Russian Life

Living Standards End Their Decade-Long Decline. (Note Book)

Magazine article Russian Life

Living Standards End Their Decade-Long Decline. (Note Book)

Article excerpt

Russians' financial situation has stopped declining for the first time since the beginning of economic reforms. Even though average monthly income totals just R1600 ($60), consumers are now spending more on non-essential consumer items and looking toward the future with optimism.

An opinion poll of 2,000 persons by Gfk Company revealed that, over the course of this year, only 31% of Russians saw their living standards decline (vs. 68% in 2000 and 83% in 1999). 48% of Russians said their standard of living is stable and 18% have noted an improvement. Moreover, Russians' income has increased in real terms 43% since 1998. This even despite the fact that Gfk estimated average per capita income much lower than Goskomstat (which estimated it at R2000 in August).

These upbeat conclusions are confirmed by retail trade data. The founder of the supermarket chain Seventh Continent, Vladimir Gruzdev, said his company's turnover is expected to increase by 60-70% this year, the most dynamic change since the crisis of 1998; 76% of buyers, Gruzdev said, rely upon "well-established" brands. …

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