Russians living in poverty up by 2m since 2010: Agency

MOSCOW - The number of people in Russia living below the poverty line has grown by about two million in the first six months of 2011, new figures released by the state statistics service said.

The total number of Russians living in poverty has reached 21.1 million after the first six months of the year, up from 18.1 million last year.

The share of the population living in poverty also grew to 14.9 per cent from last year's 12.8 per cent, according to official figures.

The poverty line was defined after the second quarter of 2011 at 6,505 roubles per month per capita (S$261), which grew from 5,625 roubles from the same period last year.

Inflation was 4.7 per cent since the beginning of the year. The Russian government has aimed for a 7.5 per cent inflation for the year 2011.

International institutions such as the World Bank have said this year that poverty in Russia remains a key concern amid sluggish growth and modest earnings. The country needs to work on effectiveness of its public spending to improve the situation, the World Bank report said earlier this month.