Russia - the rich get richer and poor get poorer

The gap between the rich and the poor in Russia is widening. According to figures released by Goskomstat, Russia's state-run statistics committee, 10% of high-income Russians shared 29.6% of the total cash revenues during the first quarter of 2003, against 29.3% in the first quarter of 2002.

A total of 10% of low-income families shared only 2% of the population's cash revenues in January-March 2003 (2.1% in the first quarter of 2002). The population's combined cash income comprised 1.86 trillion roubles in the first quarter of 2003 (1.40 trillion in the first quarter of 2002). Cash incomes totalled 1.88 trillion (1.44 trillion).

As many as 20% of high-income Russian families accounted for 46.2% of all cash income in the first quarter of 2003 against 45.9% in the first quarter of 2002. At the same time, 20% of the low-income populace shared 5.5% of all cash income in January-March 2003 (5.6% in January- March 2002).

Some 0.6% of Russia's entire population had incomes less than 500 roubles a month in the first quarter of 2003 (1.5% in January-March 2002). Another 1.8% of Russians have incomes from 500 to 750 roubles; 9% (14.1%) - from 1,000 to 1,500 roubles; 10.6% (13.9%) - from 1,500 to 2,000 roubles; 19.9% (21.7%) - from 2,000 to 3,000 roubles; 15.3% (13.9%) - from 3,000 to 4,000 roubles; and 39.7% (25.2%) made over 4,000 roubles a month.

Pay in Russia averaged 4,841 roubles in the first quarter of 2003 and 5,124 roubles in March.

(Source: Interfax, Moscow)