Russians Anticipate Higher Wages, Higher Prices in 2013

MOSCOW, January 1 (RIA Novosti) – Russians can expect to see their real wages rise in 2013, but along with that will come higher utilities tariffs, according to Economic Development Ministry forecasts.

Take-home pay is set to rise 3.7 percent in 2013, the ministry forecasts, and the minimum wage is also expected to rise, although it will still lag significantly behind that in place in Portugal, France or Luxembourg, according to the Vesti news site.

Russians will also see pensions rise; by the end of 2013 the minimum pension will be just over 9,394 rubles, or around $ 310, Vesti reports. However, utilities bills will also rise in 2013, with power costing 12 to 15 percent more, while heating bills will rise by 8 to 10 percent.

Children, students and the elderly will also have to undergo annual medical examinations, as part of a government initiative to keep people healthy by boosting preventive medicine and catching problems early, local media report.

The minimum price of vodka, per bottle, will rise from the current 125 rubles (about $4) to 170 rubles (nearly $6), while the minimum price for a bottle of cognac will be just shy of $10, local media report.

The New Year also sees beer fully classified as an alcoholic beverage, and the consequent restrictions on location and time of sale will come into force, local media report. January 1 also sees a raft of changes come into force for Russian drivers, with gas prices rising and harsher punishments for driving violations, Business FM reported in December 2012.

However, public transport passengers’ lives will be eased, Russkaya Sluzhba Novostei (Russian News Service) reports, as compensation for damages incurred in an accident rises to a maximum of 2 million rubles (just over $64,000), although the subway system will be exempt.

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