The State Statistics Committee came out with a raft of depressing statistics on October 19. Inflation reached 38.4 percent in September. Real wages have fallen 26.7 percent compared to August–the biggest drop since January 1995. Real wages fell 12.4 percent from January to September of this year, as compared to the same period in 1997.
Meanwhile, 44.3 million Russians, or 30.1 percent of the population, fell under the minimum living standard in September, as compared to 32.8 million, or 22.3 percent of the population, in August.
The State Statistics Committee’s deputy head, however, told reporters that the huge increase in the number of poor–by 25 percent over last year–was due to a new measuring method the committee had adopted.
The committee also reported that Russia’s gross domestic product was 9.9 percent lower in September of this year than it was in September of 1997, and that wage arrears had reached 88 billion rubles (roughly US$5.5 billion at current exchange rates) as of October 1.
Intourist, Russia’s largest travel agency, reported that the number of Russian traveling abroad had fallen by 30-50 percent compared with last year. The agency did say, however, that the number of travelers overseas was starting to rise again (Russian agencies, October 19; The Moscow Times, October 20).
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