Millions of Russians live – or rather, survive – at 11-12-14 thousand rubles a month. Our correspondents in the regions found heroes of different gender, age, and social status, who are united by the fact that they work, but receive pennies while conducting everyday struggle in a literal sense for physical survival.
One of the heroes was not afraid to introduce himself, someone did not want to give his name to the press. But because of this, the stories about them and their own monologues did not become less dramatic.
Single mother from Stavropol: “I feel in slavery”
Natalia lives in Stavropol. Works as a lawyer. One brings up a second-grade daughter. He tells that he lives in poverty and slavery. Her income could be higher in conditions of stability, but it is not there – for the past years, Natalia has been delaying her salary for months for a long time. Stable all this time there was only one – 18 thousand monthly mortgage payments.
But the new job did not last long: under the new, 2019, this company also closed, in which also the salary was not paid for months. They never paid me off completely – the company went bankrupt. All this time I was working part-time, but there were less and less extra work, and the amounts were less. I have almost no money left. We have to live for two or three thousand rubles a month.
I feel in slavery. I do not live – survive. Retired parents help. Mom works in retirement to help me. It is very humiliating to beg for money from elderly parents. I live with debts on a communal – must be 7-10 thousand steadily. Of course, I repay debts little by little, but they never fully succeed. In winter, I save on heat, good, an apartment with individual heating allows it. I warm up the apartment and turn off the heating for the whole day, and in order not to freeze, we dress with our daughter warmer. My daughter’s clothes and shoes are almost all worn out, passed on by friends and acquaintances. Thank you friends – often borrow me money. Especially when it comes time to pay on the loan. How do I get paid – I distribute debts and again we sit without money.
A diverse, nutritious food can not afford. Meat almost do not eat. Before the new year, I could not stand it, I decided to arrange a “holiday” – I took a piece of meat that lay on the broth from the fridge and baked it in the oven. My daughter has been eating this meat for a long time, like a delicacy. And my heart bleeds.
My daughter is a good girl, a hard worker. At school she studies almost “excellently”, she is seriously engaged in artistic gymnastics. She is a real fighter: she is doing well in sports – she brings medals from almost all competitions. Her rhythmic gymnastics is, of course, also a huge expense item. My mother is unhappy with this: she believes that in our position, training four times a week, trips to competitions, new costumes for performances is a luxury. But I feel that I must give my daughter the opportunity to be realized. Where do I get money for this? I do not even know. From the world on a thread – I borrow, I ask from parents, I earn additionally.
There is no such item of expenditure as “entertainment” in our budget at all. We do not go to the cinema, to the cafe, even to visit. Once – a lot of work. And there is nothing – it is inconvenient with “empty hands”.
I hope that now our situation will improve – after the new year, having shoved myself, I got a job in the civil service. At the new place in the first month of work they gave a bonus – in the amount of more than half of the salary! I think today it can be stable and monetary only in the service of the state. I will hold on to this place. Recently, however, I read that civil servants in Russia expect a reduction. And my heart sank again with fear. ”
Military pensioner from Krasnodar: “They live and worse”
Andrey Nekosov is a working military pensioner with an active civil position. For service on a submarine, the state accrued him a pension of 12,800 rubles. Few, but as Andrei himself says, people live for less. The military pension came earlier than usual: when there is still a lot of strength and desire to engage in an interesting business for him. Therefore, I went to work for an enterprise associated with water transport – a motor mechanic in the Kuban River Shipping Company.
The company charges Andrew the minimum wage for which he also constantly has to fight. He, in his own words, was at the enterprise almost the only one who knows the rights of workers and is ready to stand for them. That is why he was twice reinstated by the court at work after unfair dismissal. The layoffs, he said, followed the demands to pay penalties for the idle time due to the employer’s fault.
It would seem that if you add even the minimum wage to a pension of 12,800, the amount will not turn out so tiny – over 20 thousand. But there are two other not-so-rare circumstances in the life of Andrei: in his 47 years he lodges in Krasnodar on rented housing. I have my own apartment – left from my mother – but she is in the Tula region. No one lives in it, but this does not cancel the payment for utilities. “I do not understand this. I live here. And then who gets for me the services for which I have to pay? The body cannot lie in one place, and the grave be in another. But I am persistently charged even the fee for the light, despite the fact that the counters are not spinning, ”says Nekosov.
Even the addition of the above-mentioned salaries and pensions did not give Andrey the opportunity to regularly pay for a room in Krasnodar and for a communal flat under Tula. Accumulated debt. Court followed. He made a decision on the monthly retention of money from the salary of Nekosov. As a result, it remains from 5,800. I had to learn to save. Here is his simple monthly calculation, where life is hidden under a pile of small numbers: 12,800 (pension) + 5,800 (wage balance) – 6,000 (room charge). Total remains – 12,600, for which it is necessary to somehow exist for a whole month.
“Well, somehow I live. I buy cheap. Here I saved, I saved there. I carry with me bonus cards from all stores. I look out where the discount is more – I buy there, ”says Andrew, laughing. In general, he tells his whole story with a strange mixture of laughter and indignation. There is something to be indignant, but not used to be sad and discouraged. Otherwise, I would have long ago surrendered – I did not recover once again at work, for example. And then why give a debt?
Even taking into account the savings and the pressing of needs, it is mostly enough only for food and the most inexpensive clothes: if the shoes are made of kozhzam, if the shirt is of a sale. Grow a beard – no need to spend money on machines. Travel in transport – also, anyway, the expense item. “I go, like everyone. And where to go. But in good weather and you can walk. I went to work or from work on foot — I saved 26 rubles, ”Nekosov cheerfully minted.
Andrei’s house is waiting for a room in 12 squares and a common kitchen that has to be shared with strangers until recently. Well at least the toilet in the house, that for six thousand a month you will not meet everywhere.
Prior to that, Nekosov lived in a hostel, which the company has. But since 2016, workers have not been settled there. Since then, and have to shoot a third of the house. Although an understanding of why the employer does not support the worker does not come. This question generally takes him more than the conditions of his own life. “They live worse”, the military retiree waved away.
Postman from Orenburg: “I don’t know how I manage to cut something out for food”
Tatyana Koltsova is no different from most residents of the region. She is spinning from morning to evening, like a squirrel in a wheel, trying to stretch the scanty postman’s salary for a month. Spending is usually more than income. But you have to live. More precisely – to survive. How does she do it? Here is her confession.
“I have devoted many years to work at the airline’s checkout. Received fine for bread and butter funds remained. Life seems to be a success. Three-room apartment in a residential area, adult children, grandchildren… It seemed that a quiet life had begun. There will be no worries and anxieties. But the trouble came from where it was not expected.
The local airline, to which I belonged, ordered to live long. The authorities decided to get rid of it by selling the capital. Consequently, employees are no longer needed. Pilots and flight attendants were scattered around other ports, and we, the office staff, were confronted with the fact of reduction. I had to leave. There were no other options.
Find a new job in Orenburg, especially in the specialty, is unrealistic. All standing enterprises either went bankrupt or were reformatted, and “their own” people are sitting there. Even for the position of cleaning lady turn.
The unemployed Orenburg has one way – somewhere in the trade. Sellers are always required. In the growing, like mushrooms after the rain, shopping malls constantly need shots. But even here the difficulty is – I am a woman in the age, and young girls are needed there.
I spent two years without work. It was very hard. Adult son and daughter gave money for life. But they have their own families, their own problems. We had to solve something. Moreover, another granddaughter was born. Four rooms in the “Khrushchev” became cramped. I had to disperse.
The move has become a living hell. I had to get into a loan to build a new home. With grief in half settled down. But I was left alone: my son and daughter went to other cities. We had to look for something. An acquaintance said that a postman is required at the post office. There were no other options, and I went.
If ten years ago I had been told that the work of the postman was one of the most difficult, I would not have believed it. What is there, scattered newspapers on the boxes, and – free.
Nothing like this! On you – a dozen addresses, hundreds of apartments. You carry not only newspapers, but also various receipts, notifications, payment orders, registered letters… And you also have brochures, magazines, soap that you have to sell in your bag. We set a plan: we have to sell 350 rubles a day. It is not real! And not only because everything that we offer is worth a penny and no one needs it. I simply have no sales abilities: I cannot convince my grandmother that she needs a magazine about the benefits of bread or recipes for the witch.
I come home and literally fall for weariness. Health deteriorated. The pressure has become chronic. Leg pain interferes with walking. And all these sacrifices – for 11 thousand rubles a month. It is now. And I started with eight…
I don’t know how I still manage to cut something out for food… I give four thousand for utilities. Three and a half thousand give for a loan. And for everything about everything in the wallet there are three and a half thousand a month. I do not dream of any big purchases. I stock products in economy class stores. Defer or accumulate fails. I go everywhere on foot. Fortunately, everything is near. Theater, concerts – all this is now in the past. Sometimes the daughter, who returned, invites to performances. And these are very rare moments of happiness.
I used to have a hobby – I was knitting. You can now sell your products. But I come home tired, exhausted… In general, there can be no talk of any creativity. Only gray days.
A waitress from Vologda: “By restricting myself in food, I replenished a bouquet of my illnesses”
Varvara Pronina (the name at the request of the heroine is changed) from Vologda is 31 years old. Previously, she earned by local standards normally – 30 thousand rubles, but life circumstances have changed. Now she works in a cafe and gets 14 thousand. Reconstructing a new salary and a new standard of living for our heroine turned out to be extremely difficult. Why and how she still does it – in her monologue:
“First, when you get used to living at least 30 thousand rubles, it is difficult to reduce the list of favorite foods that have always been in the fridge. Now I can afford cheeses, olives, expensive sausage and meat exclusively on holidays. Bread is sometimes more profitable to bake.
Secondly, with a small salary, there are problems with rent, especially in the winter – about 6 thousand rubles. Separately – pay for internet. So, out of 14 thousand rubles, 7 thousand remain. They need to buy a ticket, shampoo, shower gel and dishwashing and similar household stuff. It takes about 3 thousand rubles, sometimes it is possible to meet the 2 thousand.
Of course, I buy clothes and shoes only if necessary, for example, when the shoes are no longer repaired, and the jacket is worn down to holes. But I care about every thing so that they last longer.
As a result, there are 5 thousand rubles per meal per month. With this money I can only afford cereals, yoghurts, vegetables, dairy products, eggs. Fruits and meat – expensive. To diversify the diet, you have to deny yourself a particular product. For example, if I want to have dinner today at the chicken thigh (fillets are out of the question), then I understand that vegetables and dairy products will not buy for another three days.
The main thing is to be able to cook. Sometimes from cheap products you can make a snack no worse than in a restaurant. For example, if you allow yourself to mince, beans and pasta, you get a delicious dinner. With a combination of foods, I try to diversify my meals. Otherwise, if there is only buckwheat for 2 weeks, then on the third one it will be difficult to even look at it. Sometimes fleeting meetings with young people and friends who invite to visit and entertain their supper, are unaware that only yesterday’s soup is in my refrigerator…
Limiting myself for several months in a row, I filled up a bunch of my illnesses. Unfortunately, it is expensive to go to paid doctors, and it is not so easy to get tested at the clinic. If something hurts, then I try to be treated with folk remedies, or I take painkillers. Rescues free medical examination to maintain normal health.
In case of emergency, you have to borrow money from relatives, friends. I have a debt of 30 thousand rubles. It has to be given either by saving money on products (although, it would seem, far less), or due to purchases that can be postponed for the next month.
With such a salary in Vologda, savings are out of the question. When I received 30 thousand rubles, I barely had enough money, but then I could afford meat several times a week, fruits, new things. ”
Instead of repetition
The stories and destinies of our heroes are different. But something common, except for extremely low wages, is still visible. First of all, with this penny salary everyone has to pay not only a communal flat, which grows year by year, but also loans that have become a companion – and a scourge! – literally every Russian family, regardless of income. There is no other way out except for taking loans, people who are in need just do not see for themselves: otherwise, they have nowhere to live, and there is nothing for them to feed the children. Well, the recipes for survival, if we summarize them, are simple: giving up rest and entertainment, wild food savings, degrading appeal for help to family and friends.
How typical are the stories we told? Judge for yourselves: since 2014, real incomes of Russians have fallen by more than 11%. According to the Rosstat, the cash income per Russian on average last year amounted to 32.6 thousand rubles. At the same time, the average Russian family, to make ends meet and buy the most necessary, requires, according to the same Rosstat, a minimum income of 58.5 thousand rubles. And at least for a large family (three children or more) – 82 thousand rubles. per month.
The families we have talked about are very far from even these standards, which, we emphasize, are considered minimal. For our heroes, ordinary life is a struggle for existence, which they lead day after day by the meager means that they have at hand.