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Putin threatens annexed regions with “all-Russian standard of living”

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Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the recently annexed Ukrainian territories – Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, as well as the so-called “DPR” and “LPR” – will reach the “all-Russian standard of living” by 2030.

Notably, Putin has been making similar claims in Russia for the better part of two decades – for the last 15 years, he has repeated demands that Russians living in derelict and dilapidated properties be resettled.

“We will definitely achieve our goal. And in the future, on all the key issues – in the economy, in the social sphere, in governance – these regions will become one with [Russia]. We have already been down that road with Crimea and Sevastopol, and we know what needs to be done,” Putin said at a meeting of Russia’s Council for Strategic Development and National Projects.

At the meeting, he also assured that Russia, under “the unprecedented pressure of sanctions,” manages to thrive. According to Putin, the price level after the surge in May “has remained virtually unchanged,” the incomes of Russians with minimum wages are increasing, and the level of poverty is declining.

“United Russia”, the country’s ruling party, promised to beat poverty back in 2003, and in November Putin himself once again repeated his demand “to get our people out of slums,” which has already become a meme.

Putin pointed to the immorality of the mere existence of slums back in 2007: “I think it immoral that the government is paying little heed to these issues. A country with such immense reserves, accumulated thanks to oil and gas revenue, cannot put up with millions of its citizens living in slums.”

Another notable statistic on Russia’s standard of living can be drawn from Novaya Gazeta’s 2020 investigation of sewage systems. 30,000,000 people in Russia are not connected to centralized sewage systems, and Russia has the largest population share of any developed nation with no access to indoor plumbing.

Photo: Anton Unitsyn/Novaya Gazeta
Photo: Arden Arkman/Novaya Gazeta
Photo: Arden Arkman/Novaya Gazeta
Photo: Arden Arkman/Novaya Gazeta
Photo: Vlad Nekrasov/Novaya Gazeta
Irkutsk Oblast, Siberia
Photo: Aleksey Golovshchikov/Novaya Gazeta
Yakutsk, Siberia
Photo: Aleksey Vasilyev/Novaya Gazeta
Tver Oblast, western Russia
Photo: Anastasiya Chistyakova/Novaya Gazeta
Primorsky Krai, Russian Far East
Photo: Mariya Tikhonova/Novaya Gazeta
Tver Oblast
Photo: Anastasiya Chistyakova/Novaya Gazeta
Novosibirsk Oblast, southwestern Siberia
Photo: Stanislav Denisenko & Vlad Nekrasov/Novaya Gazeta
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Irkutsk Oblast, Siberia
 Yakutsk, Siberia
Tver Oblast, western Russia
Primorsky Krai, Russian Far East
Tver Oblast
Novosibirsk Oblast, southwestern Siberia

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