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Special Debates
 

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- St. Petersburg

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- Tomsk

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- Moscow

Is life getting better?

 

The gap between the rich and the poor in Russia is growing.

Panellists
Yuriy Lirmak, local businessman and nightclub owner
Larisa Deriglazova, professor of sociology at Tomsk State University
Nikolai Petrov, expert on Russian regions from the Carnegie Center in Moscow
On the one hand, the country is second only to the US and Germany for the number of dollar billionaires living there, with one estimate suggesting they own 40% of the national economy.

On the other, the average wage in a country of 143 million people is about $250 a month.

Is this what people expected when the Soviet system started to break up?

Fifteen years on, how have people come to terms with the market economy and how do they see their future? Alcoholism is on the rise, as is HIV infection, life expectancy is low and the birth-rate is falling. But for many people, the future holds the promise of opportunity.

Tomsk
In the second of three special debates from Russia, Bridget Kendall is in the Siberian town of Tomsk to ask: is life getting better?


Is life getting better?

This programme was recorded in Tomsk on 12 March 2006
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