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Putin vows poverty will be targeted in Russia

We need to reduce poverty which level and scale pose risks to our society’s stability and unity, Russian President said

MOSCOW, December 23. /TASS/. Russia to continue addressing poverty but citizens should not be given unrealistic promises, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the United Russia Party’s congress on Saturday.

"We should strive for a sustainable, long-term increase in citizens’ incomes, should increase pensions and social benefits. Unconditionally, we need to continue efforts to lower the number of people living below the poverty line. [We need to] reduce poverty which level and scale pose risks to our society’s stability and unity," Putin said.

Nevertheless, unrealistic promises should be avoided and money should not be wasted as it was in the early 1990s, he said, when under the pressure of circumstances both parliament and government took unenforceable decisions quite frequently. As a result, more than 40 million Russians found themselves below the poverty line in the early 2000s.

"Now we have nearly 20 million [poor] people but it is impossibly much. There used to be times when we had 15 million," Putin said, pointing out that crises, sanctions, a slump in global markets and a drop in demand for Russian manufacturers’ production had blocked the process.

"Russia has just come out of recession. We have reached a stage of sustainable growth. We need to target poverty by relying on the economic growth and the labor productivity growth. And to do so, as we have been targeting inflation," the president said.

"The situation should not be tolerated when employees with a popular profession, required skills and qualifications earn meager salaries, literally making both ends meet," Putin added.