(RightIsRight.co) – The authorities of the Russian Federation have started a form of food rationing for the poorest as President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is already well into its sixth month, and Russia’s economy is suffering from the effects of Western sanctions.
The State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, has voted to introduce food rations cards for those most in need, Newsmax reported citing The Moscow Times.
According to Yaroslav Nilov, the head of the labor, social policy, and veterans’ affairs committee at the Duma, the special plastic cards will allow the poorest Russians to buy food and medications at discounted prices.
Those will be made available to about 21 million out of Russia’s population of more than 140 million, namely, those whose income is below the Ministry of Labor’s subsistence level of 13,900 rubles per month, or about USD 229.00.
“[The new program] will complement the program of electronic social certificates, which is already being implemented in the regions,” The Moscow Times reported.
The Russian ration card program for food and medications has been in discussion among the country’s officials for the past six years, but previously there was not a sufficient level of support to approve it.
According to Nilov, besides the poorest Russians, the food ration card program will also benefit retail chains, which are now facing “a new wave of falling consumer incomes.”
“It will provide an influx of new customers,” he argued concerning the benefits for Russia’s retail sector.
Western sanctions over Putin’s war against Ukraine have worsened Russia’s inflation, which reached a 20-year high in April of 17.8% year-on-year, and 15.4% year-on-year as of mid-July, as per The Moscow Times.
A year ago, the average annual income in Russia was enough to buy 208 pounds of beef, but that amount has now declined to 195 pounds, the news outlet notes, adding that much of the Russian population is spending its entire income on food.
Estimated in “vegetable terms,” the average annual Russian income has dropped in a year from sufficient to buy 2,830 pounds of cabbage to only 1,247 pounds; from 2,399 pounds of onions to 1,976; and from 1,878 pounds of potatoes to 1,565 pounds.
Last month, Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade approved an initiative for food sharing under which Russians in need will be getting expiring food for free. It will be provided by retail chains that have joined the program.