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A better life in Crimea?

A better life in Crimea?
Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
Kerch – The rapid decline of the ruble was a cold shower for many of the Crimeans who only half a year ago queued up for Russian passport and hanged up tricolors on their windows. The ‘golden mountains’ politicians promised remained regular Crimean hills, and the salaries and pensions, as before, do not allow them to afford more, having been negated with the increase of prices on public utilities and the constant growth of prices on the barest essentials. Those whose professions were constantly underrated in Ukraine got lucky. Crimea.Reality tried to find out whose life became better in ‘new’ Crimea.

To be honest, there is more and more talk of how to survive on eight or even five thousand rubles per month in Crimea. Crimeans with a Ukrainian mentality and belief in freedom are so far not used to keeping silent. In order to find out what the people are most concerned with, it is enough to go to the marketplace, the hospital or the post office.

Worker of the Kerch public utility office Zhylavtoservis Antonina M. is one of those who have to survive on minimal wage.

“They only raised our salaries to five thousand rubles. They told us not even to count on more. I don’t know how to survive on this amount of money. A pack of Q-tips for a child costs forty rubles, and beer is fifty. Even if you don’t drink beer! For some reason we somehow managed to survive on a thousand Hryvnia, even though it wasn’t enough either. I do not understand it. Only alimony saves me. All together it is more or less manageable,”the woman told her friend in line at one of the post offices.

Together with alimony, Antonina has about ten thousand rubles per year. This is a thousand more than a railway worker. Steward in the Kerch-Moscow train Anatoly gets nine thousand rubles per month.

Hairdresser Angela, whose salary, however, depends on the amount of work she does, gets five thousand. “Nobody is going to raise our salaries. We work for a private company,” the woman said.

According to the director of the Kerch territorial department of the Fund of Mandatory Social Security in Case of Unemployment Vadim Kutuzov, the salaries for the vacancies in the city varies between three and 29 thousand rubles.

Who ‘got lucky’? 

The minimal amount, 3382 rubles, are part-time salaries which the Kerch Children’s hospital is offering to an orthopedic trauma doctor, the maximum is the salary of the district police inspector (there are five such vacancies in town). According to our information, emergency workers get a good amount of money, who engage with all the emergencies in Russia, ranging from traffic accidents to airplane crashes. As they do not stay bored for long, their salaries, according to one of the rescue service workers, reaches forty thousand rubles for some people. “I told my wife not to work,” the rescuers said.

It is no secret that experienced teachers get high salaries. Back in September, the collegium of the Kerch Headquarters for Education announced the average number: school teachers get 26 thousand rubles, kindergarten teachers get a little over 20,5 thousand, teachers at children’s non-school facilities get 19 thousand rubles. However, back then the teachers were indignant, saying they had not even seen this kind of money. Today, though, they have it in their hands.

“I am a young specialist, and as I work as a substitute, I got 15 thousand rubles. A teacher who has many years of experience, got the same amount as I did as advance payments, so half of her salary,” said young pedagogue Maria P.

The salary rift in Crimea today is quite significant. A school pediatrician, according to the social security fund, may count on a salary of only 5802 rubles, a children’s cardio-rheumatologist gets 250 rubles less. A neuropathologist at the city hospital is offered 8500 thousand rubles, an oncologist at the oncology hospital gets 10 thousand. A vet can find a job with a salary of 12 thousand rubles, a mortician gets 13300 rubles, a GD is offered almost 14,5 thousand, an anesthesiologist gets 16,4 thousand rubles.

Five thousand rubles even for microbiologists

According to the fund, an accountant gets 9-15 thousand rubles, a marshrutka driver can count on 8500. A truck driver can count on even less – only 4750 rubles.

An embroiderer can earn 7 thousand rubles per month, a worker at the Kerch metallurgy complex gets 7 thousand rubles, an excavator driver at the water service may get 10 thousand. A bulldozer driver a the Budkeramika factory will get about 5 thousand. The Zatoka shipbuilding factory is looking for electricity specialists for 10 thousand rubles, and Budkeramika offers only 4750 rubles for the same job.

Almost the same amount of money, 4,5-6,8 thousand rubles, is the salary of a janitor, as well as a cashier and a guard at a chain supermarket, and in some small shops it is even less – 4153 rubles.

Minimal salaries of 4-5 thousand rubles are offered to guards, cooks, shopkeepers, inventory workers, waiters and even microbiologists.

However, a paramedic in the military may get 20 thousand rubles, and a car mechanic the Kerch Sea Port is looking for can count on 19 thousand rubles. Managers’ salaries fluctuate around 15 thousand.

As such, having divided the offered salaries by the number of official vacancies on the Fund’s list (199), we get the average salary in Kerch – 8060 rubles.

Officials promise more

At the same time next year, officials expect the average monthly salary in Crimea to be 18600 rubles. This number was announced at the Crimean ‘Council of Ministers’ by ‘Minister’ of Economic Development of Crimea Nikolay Koryazhkin. 

“The prognosis of the main measures in 2015 was formed based on the calculations and reasoning of the Ministries and state committees of the Republic regarding basic economic industries, and taking into account the prognosis for development in the Russian Federation,” the Minister said.

According to the website Russia’s Human Resource Agencies, which systematizes the salary statistics in Russia, the real average salary for Russian regions this year is 18126 rubles. This number was received based on the analysis of public opinion and a survey conducted on the website.

At the same time, according to the Federal State Statistic Service, as of May this year, the average salary in Russia constitutes 33280 rubles. However, this number does not account for taxes.

According to online job search engines, in November the average salary in Russia constituted a little over 31 thousand. In Moscow, according to Yandex, the average salary is 42 thousand rubles.

Which is why there are quite a lot of vacancies in Crimea – those who were able went to work in Moscow and the Fear East, as per tradition.

“My son went to work in Moscow. They promised him thirty thousand rubles on construction. He said that until he earns 200 thousand he will not come back,” said one of the Kerch pensioners.

When calculating the average Crimean salary for next year, the officials were governed by inflation prognoses in Russia overall. According to Koryzhkin, price growth is expected at 17.5%. Not only food but public utility services, as well as alcohol and tobacco, will become more expensive. Which means that the planned 18 thousand rubles on average per Crimean will not enough either.

Russian pensions since the summer

As to the new Crimean pensions, then year, according to the officials, they have already reached the average Russian level. In the end of September, Vice Prime Minister of the Russian government Olga Golodets reported that the average pension in Crimea is 10 670 rubles

“We had several foremost tasks to level the social sphere in the Crimean federal district with the rest of Russian regions. The biggest rift was in the provision of pensions and salaries to the citizens,” noted Golodets.

According to her, the pensions are a bit higher in Sevastopol – 11860 rubles on average. Some military pensioners get higher pensions – over 15 thousand rubles. Meanwhile the pensioners complain that the money is not enough.

“My pension is ten thousand. Two for public utilities. Can you buy a lot for eight? Galya’s pension is eight thousand. Is this even money? Look at the prices!” Laments a pensioner at the Kerch marketplace.

There are social pensions in Crimea. Men and women of 60 and 65 years of age accordingly, as well as II and III category invalids get 3,5-4,3 thousand rubles per month.

Public utility prices will grow more

What can people buy with this kind of money? See for yourself: a kilo of veal at the market costs 200 rubles, salo costs 250. Ten eggs cost up to 50 rubles, milk costs the same. A kilo of cheese can be bought for 160-200 rubles. A kilo of potatoes costs 20 rubles, onions cost 18, cabbage – 15, fresh cucumbers cost 120. Bananas cost 80 rubles on average, lemons can be found for 60. The most expensive type of grain is rice – its price goes up to 60 rubles, however, one can find a kilo for 40. Pasta costs 25 rubles on average.

Chickens are sold for 260-300 rubles, minced chicken costs 170, young veal costs almost 300. Fish has become cheaper, luckily for Crimeans. The price for ‘second bread,’ as they call it in the city, fell from 200 to 50 rubles.

Starting October, public services have increased in price in Crimea. Water has become 10% more expensive, electricity – 15%. The growth of tariffs, according to the Crimean government, is not final.

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
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