The goal of reducing the share of Russians with incomes below the subsistence level from 13.5 percent to 6.5 percent by 2030 is ambitious, but realistic, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“It is bad, of course, that 6.5 percent will remain, but we must proceed from reality; I think this is realistic. The goal is ambitious, but it can be accomplished,” Putin said during his annual press conference on Thursday.

The president recalled that, in the year 2000, some 29 percent of the country’s population were living below the poverty line.

“In 2017, we reached the level of about 12.3 percent of those living below the poverty line. Now, unfortunately, because of all these [Covid-related] problems, it has risen to 13.5 percent. This, of course, is a lot, about 20 million people,” said Putin.

Addressing rising food prices in the country, the president explained that was due to rising food prices abroad. “They [domestic producers] have begun to hike domestic prices to reach global prices, which is completely unacceptable,” Putin said. 

He noted that the government had quickly reacted to his order to stabilize the situation. Last week, Putin demanded a resolution to the issue of the rise in prices for essential goods. After that, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin had ordered the government to develop a list of urgent measures to curb food price increases.

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