Köyhyys Venäjällä: virallinen ongelma ja arkielämä

Poverty in Russia: an official problem and part of everyday life

The article studies the differences between official statements of poverty, reports made by experts and descriptions given by people of their own everyday life. Although the conditions in Russia continued to deteriorate up to 1992, "poverty" was never named as a problem in the studies that were made. Poverty has not received very much attention in the media either, as criminality and general economic difficulties have dominated the news. The studies seem to indicate that "poverty" is not understood as a separate problem in the everyday speech of modern Russia, but is rather hidden beneath other expressions or remains undistinguished on the basis that "we are all poor." What also partly lies in the background are the various forms of survival that the Russians have adopted in order to secure their existence. In Russia, as elsewhere, the discussion on poverty may be considered a process, where different parties compete over the right to define the problem: politicians are only too eager to use poverty as a weapon in their internal power struggles, while in external relationships, it may help obtain financial aid. The interests of the mass media, again, are related to the news value of phenomena (it is easy to find more dramatic news items in Russia than "everyday poverty").

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