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Jan 23, 2021
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Half of Russians save on food, and is this just the beginning?

Half of Russians save on food, and is this just the beginning?

Photo: Kirill Kukhmar / TASS

Almost half of Russians (47 percent) have started saving money due to the coronavirus pandemic. Such data follows from a study of the SuperJob job search service, which is cited by RIA Novosti.

It is noted that only eight percent decided to increase their spending. Moreover, men made such a decision more often than women (ten and six percent, respectively). Young people more often than the older generation decide to spend their savings in a crisis (12 percent among Russians under 24 versus 5 percent among citizens over 45).

In early December, it became known from a poll by VTsIOM that more than a third of Russians (38%) can afford to buy only food and clothing, while purchasing large household appliances is a problem for them. At the same time, even buying clothes is difficult for 28%.

At the same time, 21% of respondents can easily buy a refrigerator, TV, furniture, but they have no money for more. They can easily buy a car, but not more, 4% of respondents. Only 2% can afford it. Another 6% cannot even buy groceries.

Of course, all this can be attributed to the coronavirus pandemic and the accompanying coronavirus crisis, but this is unlikely to satisfy citizens. Moreover, the president is constantly demanding an increase in citizens’ incomes. But what is the government doing wrong?

On the other hand, if they save only 47 percent, then 53 percent do not live so badly …

– Are these all abstract statistical games, the traditional “average temperature in the hospital”? – convinced Director of the Institute for Freedom, member of the Bureau of the Political Council of the Rodina party Fyodor Biryukov

– Such a study can be considered relevant only in terms of the duty explanation of the causes of socio-economic problems of society by force majeure non-economic circumstances, in this case – a pandemic. But even from this point of view, it turns out that almost half of the Russian population is forced to tighten their personal savings regime. Isn’t that enough to describe the situation as an obvious crisis?

That said, the increase in savings is not directly related to the coronavirus pandemic. Let me remind you that earlier other opinion polls “recorded” almost an increase in the well-being of citizens in connection with a decrease in costs during last year’s quarantine. That is, there is a whole range of different interpretations of the same economic phenomena.

In fact, the situation is as follows. Russians save because of the constant rise in prices and tariffs, which are not keeping pace with incomes, which, if they grow, judging by the official data, then on the scale of arithmetic error. People have been sitting on the same salaries for years, glad that they have a job at all. Pensions are microscopic. But the prices for essential goods, utility rates and public transport fares increase from one to three to four times a year, depending on the specific category of expenses. How not to save money here?

As a result, the growth of poverty is hidden under the quite innocent term of economy. A decrease in the real income of citizens, an increase in the number of insolvent citizens. After all, millions of borrowed Russians are potential bankrupts who owe banks much more than their earning capacity. And if the government has conserved poverty for years, then the banks, in unison with it, provide deferred poverty for millions of people in Russia. Most Russians do not have any savings at all, only the balances of credit money set aside for a rainy day. And in this case, saving is a form of redistribution of personal income in favor of the credit and financial sector and to the detriment of citizens. People don’t just cut back on their own spending. They buy cheaper products, use cheaper services, thereby lowering their standard of living, reducing the quality of life and harming their health. The falling purchasing power of the population is ruining the national economy. Millions of Russians are captivated by economic entropy, which will inevitably turn into social chaos on a national scale.

It is high time for the government to stop hiding under the saving dome of the pandemic and start urgently rectifying the situation with citizens’ incomes. More jobs and dynamic wage growth are needed. Money to the people! Enough to replace the country’s economic development with economy on the part of the population.

– The fact that “only” 47% of Russians began to save on their expenses does not mean that the remaining 53% of Russian citizens have no problems, – believes Director of the EAEU Institute Vladimir Lepekhin

– These 53% (with very few exceptions in the face of outspoken rentiers), perhaps WHILE still not saving on personal consumption, are quite likely beginning to respond to the growing economic crisis: they change the structure of their business, revise their investment policy, put money into new money boxes, and most importantly, they postpone the demand for some not the most essential goods.

And the problem, by the way, is not to survive the growing crisis – you can survive it in complete suspended animation. The problem is the curtailment of the development potential in the Russian Federation – both for the national economy as a whole and for the overwhelming majority of citizens.

The dynamics of economic processes in modern Russia is such that by the end of this year, not 47, but, say, 67, 77 or even more% of the country’s population will have to cut their personal expenses.

“SP”: – Eight percent decided to increase their expenses. Who are these people?

– 8% of citizens of the Russian Federation decided to increase their expenses – this, for all the ridiculousness of this figure, is nevertheless an overestimate. Wanting to increase spending and really wanting to increase are two different things. There are many people in the country today who, on the eve of the crisis, want to invest their money in gold, securities, crypto, real estate etc. Well, this is not due to the desire to increase expenses as such, but to the desire to save the earned through its capitalization.

“SP”: – Young people more often than the older generation decide to spend their savings in a crisis. Why?

– The psychology of young people is strikingly different from the psychology of older people. The first need to “live beautifully” and invest to the maximum in themselves today for career goals, the second it is important to create a financial “cushion” for old age. And such preferences only intensify during the crisis: young people start to fuss with purchases, because tomorrow everything (cars, apartments, furniture, appliances etc.) may become even more expensive, and the elderly, on the contrary, try to hold back on spending, because tomorrow they may be left without pants at all.

“SP”: – In December 2020, the consumer loan issuance rate rose to a record in the entire history of observations. What does this mean? Will this trend intensify? Will the banks use this pretext to tighten conditions?

– The growth in lending to the population is the merit, first of all, of banks, which, in the situation of a decrease in the turnover of payments, engaged in massive advertising of various types of credit schemes. Taking into account that more than half of the country’s population is in debt on loans and is forced to give rather high loans on loans of previous years, in some families, on-lending and buying goods and services on credit were actively practiced for the reasons stated above (in anticipation of price increases). In this sense, yes, the volume of consumer loans issued increased significantly at the end of 2020, but in a few months, a significant increase in the debt of citizens on loans should be expected.

“SP”: – Is it possible to predict a further drop in income? How long will the Russians have enough “airbags”, and when will growth begin?

– There is no direct relationship between the dynamics of growth or decline in incomes of citizens and economic growth. Sometimes it happens that citizens’ incomes fall even with a significant economic growth of the national economy and vice versa. In this sense, citizens’ incomes may stabilize by the end of the year – but this is purely theoretical, since the third and subsequent waves of the pandemic will again reduce all efforts of our citizens to somehow make money to nothing. In addition, in connection with the victory of the globalists in the US elections, Russia is entering a period of maximum uncertainty – and in these conditions, in principle, nothing can be predicted. There is only one constant: there will be no economic growth in the Russian Federation in the coming years, since there is not a single systemic prerequisite for it left in the country. On the contrary: the government of Mishustin-Siluanov so far, willingly or not, is betting on the introduction of various kinds of demotivators in the Russian economy in the form of various tax innovations, new pro-oligarchic regulations, ill-conceived digitalization etc.

“SP”: – How can you evaluate the measures taken by the government? Isn’t it time to give out money?

– The government continues to abuse the administration. Moreover – not in the interests of the country and the mass producer, but in the interests of transnational oligarchs and offshore thieves. Capital outflow from the Russian Federation, despite a more than 30% decline in production, has only increased in recent months. Monopolization of all Russian markets is simply going through the roof. But God forbid, in such a situation some kind of “distribution of money” to the population will begin. Under any scheme of such distribution, money in Russia will not reach the population, but will go to the same banks and offshore companies. Well, along the way, the ruble and the last islands of a stable economy will collapse.

It is not sly thieves’ populism that needs to be dealt with today, but at least:

A) a real increase in pensions;

B) a real increase in the volume of child benefits;

C) the closure of offshore companies with an increase in the share of tax revenues to the budgets of all levels from former non-residents;

D) reduction of VAT and income tax for domestic business;

E) real dispossession of the most arrogant owners of ocean yachts and builders of muddy palaces in Gelendzhiki, at least in the form of the introduction of a progressive income tax.

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