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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Long Distance in Russia Set to Increase by Half

Moscow's long-distance telephone operator will raise the prices of its domestic services by 50 percent Thursday to compensate for inflation, company officials said Tuesday.

The measure will raise the cheapest regular rate -- for calls within 100 kilometers of Moscow -- to 150 rubles (4.5 cents) per minute from 100. Calls placed between 8 A.M. and 6 P.M. will cost three times as much, or 450 rubles per minute.

Weekend callers will enjoy a half-price discount of 75 rubles per minute.

"Everything is getting more expensive and we have to raise the prices to make up for inflation," said Tatyana Sokolova, marketing director at Moscow Intercity and International Telephone.

"It is not a sharp rise, though," Sokolova said. She added that the rate had stayed put since June while inflation has amounted to more than 50 percent.

The new tariffs set the regular rate charged for a connection to St. Petersburg, central and southern Russia and most of the former Soviet republics at 450 rubles per minute.

The regular rates for calls to Eastern Siberia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan will be set at 600 rubles per minute, and to the Far East at 750 rubles per minute.

As with all other domestic long-distance calls, the regular rate is tripled between 8 A.M. and 6 P.M. and halved on weekends.

The hike follows last month's 50 percent hike in international tariffs, which for the first time made it more expensive to call the United States from Moscow at peak hours than to call Moscow from the United States.