Farther sweeter

National research University “Higher school of Economics” (HSE) released a study “cross-country comparisons of wages in the years 2011-2017”. According to the experts of the HSE, Belarus is ahead of Russia on the size of the real wage. In 2017, Belarus salary in US dollars at the exchange rate of purchasing power parity (PPP) of the population was 1648,3 dollar, while in Russia, the real salary was fixed at 1640,4 dollar. The salary for nominal exchange rate was higher in Russia: almost 670,9 421,9 of the dollar against the dollar, recorded in Belarus. Of all the countries of the CIS closest to these indicators, according to the calculations of economists from the school of Economics, was Kazakhstan (1252 PPP) and Azerbaijan (1252,4 PPP).

Reference: purchasing power Parity – the economic term for the relationship between the two currencies on the basis of prices of similar goods in the two countries. Suppose that some standard set of goods in Russia worth 500 rubles, and in the United States – $ 25. Then, based on PPP, the fair rate is the ratio of 500 divided by 25 total of 20 rubles per dollar. (www.banki.EN)

When reasoning about the economy of the Republic of Belarus sometimes mention the “Belarusian economic miracle”

Natalya Radko went with her husband to Minsk in 2011. Husband of Natalia headed the branch of a large international company. Ties with the homeland, they do not lose periodically return back and stay in the neighboring country to relocate yet do not plan. Do not plan to change citizenship, although, said Natalia, a residence permit to already.

Natalia said that the hike in Novosibirsk in basic products (bread, milk, cheese, sausage, etc.) she has spent the equivalent of 15-20 USD (when the exchange rate was 30 rubles per 1 dollar). The same amount in Belarus, it claims, has to spend only now – after the local financial crisis and denominations of 2016. Two years ago, underwent a currency reform: 10 000 old Belarusian rubles were exchanged for 1 new Belarusian ruble, which led to higher prices on certain goods.

“In the past daily expenses here compared to Novosibirsk was 5-6 times less. Since then, Minsk has become more and more like Europe, prices are expected to increased, but still at about Novosibirsk, 2011. <…> But there is one major factor: from Novosibirsk will not go to Poland or Vilnius, to wholesale purchase cheaper products such as household chemicals, clothes, some food. It was here in the 90s a common practice, and now, many so do,” said Natalia.

Radko announced the prices of some goods in new BYR (Belarusian 1 ruble is equal to 30 Russian rubles) and noticed that some products prices are still lower than in Novosibirsk.

Quality sausage in Minsk is 10-12 rubles per 1 kg, mutton – 7, pork, chicken 6, beef – 12, cheese – 10 eggs – 1 to 3 rubles per dozen, milk – 1-2 per liter. Good cucumbers at the market – $ 2 in the shop – more expensive and worse. Pomegranate juice per litre – 8-new BYR.

“In Russia, many tend to think dairy products from Belarus is the most delicious. I would say: nothing special no.

Most of the milk – normalized, as in Novosibirsk. But to find the cream from solid cream – an impossible task, however, its price is 1-2 rubles per 0.5 kg depending on fat content. But here it should be noted that Minsk – the capital city, and this affects the prices are not for the better”, – says Natalya Radko.

In the production of certain Belarusian goods interferes with the state that affects the quality of these products

The fact that the city of Minsk is not cheap, says former Novosibirsk business consultant Vyacheslav, who moved to Belarus to work on the contract. The man noticed that in terms of monthly expenses he spends on himself, especially on sports and personal trainer quite a lot different from the average person. However, he along with the rest enjoys the same services and can talk about the price difference.

“It is cheaper than in Russia, so it is cosmedicine and a number of goservices, for example public transport.

The fare on the subway is 65 Belarusian cents, bus 60 cents. <…> Automobilization of the country is high, maybe higher than in Russia. Diesel is 1.37 ruble per 1 litre, 98-th – 1,48 Belarusian roubles”, – says Vyacheslav and observed that many of the prices are low because they are tightly controlled by the state.

“The government here is many that climbs. For example, the Bank of imported beer costs 6 BYR, and local beer – 2,6–3 rubles per liter. But it can be drunk only in the financial crisis. Government simply enforces local brewers malt. <…> The Internet here is as bad. 4G is only at the MTS. But cell communication itself is cheap. Of the providers – Life, “VELCOM” (the Austrians) and MTS”, – said Vyacheslav.

Vyacheslav told about the high percentage of black money circulation in the market of this country. “Many things are made and sold in the rough: must be paid in cash dollars. Car services work through a payment in us dollars. The percentage of “horror” is higher than in Russia, but is gradually falling,” said the businessman and added that small businesses, on the one hand, here in more favorable conditions: the so-called simplified taxation – 3% excluding VAT or 5% VAT included.

But to work here, according to a business consultant, mostly in the IT sphere.

After all, to attract foreign employee must obtain work permits and accommodation, as well as documents to prove that this place doesn’t take Belarusian.

Natalia and Viacheslav both are convinced that no economic miracle in Belarus. “I think it’s not Belarus have sharply accelerated the rate of economic growth, <…> Russia is, alas, stronger brakes. After all, if we talk about the salaries and their relations, those who worked in the offices of foreign trading companies and received the money through Moscow, began to get wages in currency terms, not even twice, but four times less,” said Radko.

“It’s a lie or mistake in the methodology of calculation or source of data. The Republic of Belarus is poorer Russia” – echoes Vyacheslav.

All the experts are convinced that the calculations of the Higher school of Economics was carried out inaccurately

In General I agree with this and leading researcher of the Institute of Economics Yury Voronov. According to the Novosibirsk economist, his Moscow colleagues from the HSE calculations were initially wrong.

“That’s the economic miracle of the Higher school of Economics. Belarus and Russia have different consumer basket to compare them is impossible. <…> For example, in the Russian basket of 18 food items six fruit and vegetables. And in Belarus this share is less, a set of vegetables to another. <…> Is also quite obvious, when prices for utilities, electricity, etc. is regulated in Belarus, the costs in the consumer basket will be less, therefore, real wages will be more. <…> And another thing: if in your country the difference in income between top 10% of the population and the bottom 10% ten times, it means that there is no middle, there is a failure. But in another country (Belarus. – I. K.) the difference in 4-4,5 times. How can you compare?” – puzzled said the economist ravens and remembered the joke about how one eats a chicken, and the second does not eat, but they eat together at polarity. Such work Yuri Voronov called simulacra, which are created only in order to simulate scientific activities.

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