Prices bite, but not much

Written by The Frontier Post

Daria Zelenskaya

Bread – forty, buckwheat – more than a hundred: the rush demand, and sometimes the greed of sellers, drives up prices throughout the country. While the government is taking protective measures against sanctions, local authorities are trying to curb inflation themselves: they organize fairs for farmers, threaten criminal liability for retail chains, and remind the population about vegetable gardens. RIA Novosti found out what was happening in regions where the situation had not been easy before.
Prices bite, but not much
The economy of Ingushetia is largely based on subsidies from the federal budget. Own income is only about 15%, in terms of gross regional product the republic is in 83rd place. Achaluki water is produced here, there is a Nazranovsky bakery, a large factory for processing Yuzhny turkey meat was launched in December, and a flour mill is to be put into operation in the near future.
“Prices in stores have risen by 10-15%, but not to say that there is a rush and everyone is being swept off the shelves. Tomatoes are now about 300 rubles per kilogram, cucumbers – 180-190, bread – 20. This, of course, is noticeable, however not critical,” Aishat, a resident of Magas, told RIA Novosti. She is an administrator at a local hotel, but a third of the population of the republic is unemployed, and any rise in price hurts the family budget.
On behalf of the head of Ingushetia, Mahmud-Ali Kalimatov, food fairs began to be organized, where local farmers were invited. Lamb, beef, chicken, grain, flour and flour products, dairy products, vegetables and fruits are sold there at affordable prices.
“At least ten percent cheaper than in the wholesale markets,” Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Republic Kazbek Bekov explained to RIA Novosti. And he added that sugar would soon be included in the list of necessities (“borsch set”, butter, flour, meat).
Already after the first fair, wholesale suppliers reduced their prices. So far, the program is designed until April 30, if the situation does not stabilize, it will be extended. According to Bekov, the Achaluki plant tried to raise prices because of the increase in the price of containers, but they managed to reach an agreement with the manufacturer. In general, in the republic, the consequences of economic sanctions are rather calm: there was no abundance before.
Instead of cola – “Chita Keys”
The Trans-Baikal Territ-ory is a complex region that regularly closes the rankings of socio-economic well-being. Unemployment is above average: almost one in ten is unemployed.
There was no MacDo-nald’s here, as well as large stores of imported clothing, so Chita did not notice the departure of international c-ompanies from the Russian market. But the cost of the food basket has skyrocketed, and people are complaining about declining incomes and fear layoffs.
“There is no money, everything has risen in price, while salaries have not been raised,” says Sophia from Chita. “In the cheapest KhlebSol discount store, the same bread costs 42 rubles, buckwheat – more than a hundred, juice added 30 rubles. A friend is going to a bar to close, because the products were brought in bulk from Irkutsk, and now they refused: it is unprofitable.
Another interlocutor of RIA Novosti, Maria, works in catering. “The menu has risen in price because of suppliers. Income is falling: before there was a stable salary, now it’s hourly wages. It will be 500 rubles less per month. The staff has not yet been reduced, we have a lot of Tajiks, they will probably be fired first,” she explains.
The governor of the region, Alexander Osipov, notes: “Panic, bordering on hysteria, has led to increased demand.” He is convinced that unscrupulous traders are trying to “warm their hands” in a difficult situation.
For this in the region will be punished severely. “Maybe they will earn something by illegally raising prices. They will take off the cream, but they report on annual income. They will be held accountable, up to criminal liability,” warned Mikail Goygov, head of the OFAS for the Trans-Baikal Territory.
The government of the region pointed to the positive aspects of the current crisis. According to Denis Rysev, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Pepsi products can be easily replaced by the Chita Keys beer and non-alcoholic plant – they have a very worthy Smart line. The retail price of a half-liter can of the Trans-Baikal analogue of Coca-Cola and Pepsi is 45 rubles.
The garden will feed
Tuva completely provides itself with meat, bread and milk. The rest is brought by train to Abakan, then by trucks to wholesale outlets.
“The situation is difficult,” admitted Larisa Mongush, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Republic. “We control the main types of agricultural products: beef, lamb, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, bread, milk. The price increase for February is 18-20%, for sugar, buckwheat and rice – all 40%. There were no such fluctuations in prices for goods that are produced in the republic.
The average salary in the region is 35 thousand. “I can’t afford vegetables anyway,” explains Tamara, a resident of Kyzyl. “A kilogram of sugar costs 180 rubles, or even 200 rubles. Social payments were given. I have no idea what to do next.”
Veronika is an administrator in a Kyzyl hotel. He does not go to shops, he dine and dine at the hotel. I heard about the shortage of food, but she believes that this was caused by the hype: “Everyone is running, buying sugar and flour like crazy. I can’t imagine why they need so much sugar. It was the same during the pandemic, but then the shelves filled up again.”
Officials accuse wholesalers of speculation. “Some people create an artificial stir in order to make the goods more expensive. In stores, sugar sometimes costs 192 rubles per kilo. This is inadequate even taking into account the increase in transportation costs,” Mongush emphasizes.
The leadership of the region asks the population not to panic and not to buy for the future, the stores are going to introduce limits on the sale of one hand. Large wholesale suppliers are expected to limit the trade markup. But this is hardly possible: Tuva is a region that is difficult to access.
There is another problem in the republic that is not related to sanctions. Last summer was cold and rainy, hence the poor potato harvest. It is now sold at 91 rubles per kilogram. To prevent this from happening again, the authorities advised people to grow vegetables in their own garden plots.
Heading East
However, truly serious difficulties for the regions will arise only if the aid of the federal center is cut, says political scientist, director general of the Institute of Regional Probl-ems Dmitry Zhuravlev. “It’s not a fact that this will happen. Oil has been sold as it is. Yes, there are difficulties, but this did not kill the economy. It is quite possible that there will be enough budget money for all subsidies,” he argues.
Exporters will have to reorient themselves to the East. Regions that produce weapons and other goods purchased by the state may not feel the sanctions at all and will pay attention only to inflation. “Others can only count on the central government,” the expert said.
In addition, he pointed out the logistical problems that everyone faced. “When one road is blocked, it is necessary to build another. And here a vivid example is Moscow, where sanctions are visible only in the foreign exchange market. Yes, the dollar and the euro rose, but there was no sharp jump in prices in stores. This is thanks to a special commission dealing with logistics in manual mode. Probably not the best option, but necessary in an emergency, “concluded the interlocutor of RIA Novosti.
Political scientist, President of the Regional Policy Development Center Foundation Ilya Grashchenkov predicts the greatest difficulties for the regions that were considered investment attractive. “For example, the economy of the Kaluga region is completely built on external enterprises Volkswagen, Samsung, LG. They leave, and many industrial clusters are released. The same is in the Smolensk, Tula, Yaroslavl regions,” he lists.
According to him, the Trans-Urals are easier, because they are connected with China, and not with the West. “But the yuan has also grown against the ruble. Altai Krai, Irkutsk, along with the Irkut aircraft plant, will suffer, where, most likely, employees will be laid off. In the Far Eastern Federal District, Primorsky and Khabarovsk Krai relied on Japan and Korea, which supported the sanctions,” he specified expert.
However, the situation is not hopeless. The regions have savings that will last for several months. If the government supports small and medium-sized businesses, everything can be rebuilt in the shortest possible time.

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