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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yeltsin Hikes Benefits For Poor

President Boris Yeltsin has signed a decree raising social security benefits for families with many children and other needy citizens by about 25 percent, an official at the Ministry of Social Welfare said Tuesday.

The decree, which raises benefits retroactive to Feb. 1, encompasses groups such as single women, the disabled, AIDS victims and students.

Minister of Labor Gennady Melikyan, said at a press conference recently that one-third of the population earns less than the minimum subsistence level.

In 1992 consumer prices rose 26. 1 times, salaries rose 13. 4 times and cash incomes 10 times, Melikyan said. The gap between the poorest and richest has also grown considerably -- from 4 to 16 times as much.

The ministry also found that Russians spend 13 percent less on buying fresh food, such as milk, meat, fish and fruit than before the start of economic shock therapy.

Most of the 5. 5 million unemployed receives the minimum wage of 2, 250 rubles -- nearly half the minimum subsistence level of 4, 300 rubles per month. To bring the minimum wage up to subsistence minimums the government would need to spend 370 billion rubles per month, Izvestia said.