WHO group of working poor and the
WHO ARE THE "NEW POOR" IN RUSSIA? WHAT MEASURES MIGHT BE SUCCESSFUL IN REDUCING POVERTY?
The structure of the question implies that the issue of poverty in Russia is not new. Therefore,first of all this paper will concentrate on analysing the income distribution in Soviet Russia and its impact on creating a new class system in the transition years. Later, I will describe the groups of Russian society most likely to live in poverty, namely the group of working poor and the unemployed. Finally, it will be necessary to answer what measures should be applied in order to tackle poverty.
Despite socialist propaganda to the contrary, the Soviet Union had a very defined class system. On top of it were placed the "apparatchiki", various Communist party leaders and bureaucrats. Scientists and academics – the intelligentsia – occupied the middle sphere. And finally, at the bottom, ironically, those who the system was supposed to be for – factory and farm workers. The data on the topic of inequality is, unfortunately, rather questionable as there were no official statistics carried out. However, McAuley (1979), calculates that, although inequalities had been reduced significantly since the 1950s, still in the late 1960s some 40% of the population was living in poverty according to the formal Soviet definition. Later McAuley argued thatpoverty in the USSR wasn't just a rural phenomenon, as is often assumed: "(…) a majority of the poor in 1967 – 68 were non-agricultural state employees and their dependants. This implies that there are significant lacunae in the network of support provided by soviet social welfare programmes." (p. 74). Study carried out by Gordon and Klopotov (1972), shows that from 1965 – 68, some 32% of workers' households were regarded as being poor – income below 50 rubles per month. The following table shows that only 15% of single individuals and 3% of young m…