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The Daily Vertical: Another Day, Another $95,000 (Transcript)


The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

OK, so here are some data points I plucked out of the Russian media this past week.

According to a report in Vedomosti, one in six working Russians -- approximately 12 million people -- are unable to provide basic needs for their families.

And according to the same report, approximately 22 million Russians are earning less than the official living wage of 10,000 rubles -- or $172 -- per month.

That's a 2 million person increase since last year.

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And now for a point of contrast, according to a report on Dozhd-TV, a man by the name of Mikhail Shelomov, who just so happens to be the son of Vladimir Putin's cousin, earned 5.59 million rubles -- or $95,000 -- a day last year.

According to the report, Shelomov's income comes from owning a 99.9 percent stake in three companies that just happen to do a lot of business with the state.

According to a recent report by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Shelomov is worth an estimated $573 million.

So less than $172 a month. And $95,000 a day.

These two figures go a long way toward explaining why things like Aleksei Navalny's anticorruption investigations and videos are going viral and increasingly resonating with the public.

Now Russians, of course, are not naive. They've long known how corrupt their leaders are.

But when living standards were rising, as they were for Putin's first two terms in the Kremlin, they tended to give their rulers a free pass.

But when living standards are falling, not so much.

Keep telling me what you think on The Power Vertical's Twitter feed and on our Facebook page.

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