Nearly Half Of Russian Families Can Afford Only Food, Clothing

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – – May 29, 2019 – article text also appeared at

Nearly half of all Russian families say that they only have enough money for food and clothing and cannot buy items of longer-term use such as furniture and appliances, media reports cite data from the state statistics agency Rosstat as saying.

Citing a Rosstat report on household financial situations in the fourth quarter of 2018, media outlet RBK said that 48.2 percent of families surveyed could purchase food and clothes but could not afford things like a smartphone or a new refrigerator.

That figure was down from 49.8 percent in the same period a year earlier, RBK reported. It said the statistics came from a survey of 48,000 households.

The largest proportion of respondents who could not afford much beyond food and clothing were young families, at 59.2 percent, and pensioners who do not work, at 57.9 percent, it said.

A total of 15 percent said that they can only afford food and that expenses including clothing, communal services, and utilities are a stretch.

Economic Troubles

Economic troubles have damaged the popularity of President Vladimir Putin, whose first two terms in 2000-08 came amid a strong growth spurt fueled by high prices for Russia’s oil and gas exports.

Lower oil prices and Western sanctions imposed over Russia’s interference in Ukraine, among other actions, have contributed to much slower growth.

Gross domestic product (GDP) growth slowed to 0.5 percent in the first quarter of 2018, falling short of government forecasts and reaching its weakest level since 2017, Rosstat said earlier in May.

The proportion of Russians who named Putin as a politician they would trust to resolve important issues facing the state fell to a 31.7 percent in a poll released by state-funded agency VTsIOM on May 24 — the lowest since 2006.

The proportion who said they approved of Putin’s actions as president was 65.8 percent, according to the survey.

With reporting by RBK, Vedomosti, and Reuters