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Number Of Russians In Poverty Rises By 3 Million

State statistics released on June 11 show that the number of Russians living below the poverty line rose by 3.1 million in the first quarter.

The number of Russians classed as living in poverty reached 22.9 million in the first quarter, or 15.9 percent of the population.

In the same period last year 19.8 million Russians were living below the poverty line. This is defined as having an income of less than 9,662 rubles ($176) per month.

The statistics agency adjusted the income level defined as poverty from last year to reflect inflation of up to 17 percent early this year.

Last year, the poverty line was set at 7,688 rubles.

The ruble lost over 40 percent of its value last year.

Prices for goods have been gone up influenced by the ruble's plunge as well as falling oil prices and the Ukraine crisis.

Russia imposed a ban on most imports of foods from Western countries that imposed sanctions over Ukraine, pushing up prices in shops for consumers.

Based on reporting by AFP