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Statistics from the beginning of the twentieth century and our time show that the average salaries of urban residents in Russia have not changed so much. For example, the average salary of workers at the beginning of the twentieth century was 30 rubles, which is about 21 thousand modern rubles. The salary of a teacher is 25 rubles, or 28 thousand modern rubles. But food is cheaper today than in tsarist Russia: then potatoes cost 15 kopecks - for today's money, 100 rubles; sugar 25 kopecks - or 180 rubles; a dozen eggs 25 kopecks - or 180 rubles. The main progress in a hundred years is that almost three-quarters of the peasants of that time, who lived on semi-subsistence farming, moved to cities, and because of this, the standard of living of Russians rose sharply in general.
Was the suffering that befell the Russians in the twentieth century in vain? To do this, let us turn to impartial statistics and see how the standard of living of people has changed during this time.
To begin with, let's figure out how the ruble of the early twentieth century is related to the ruble of our time. The only impartial calculation is the ratio of the ruble to the dollar then and now. According to the inflation calculator, 1 dollar of 1913 is equal to 25 dollars today. In 1913, the ruble / dollar exchange rate was 1.94 rubles per dollar. That is, the royal 1 ruble is approximately equal to 715 modern rubles. There is also a change in the purchasing power parity of the ruble and the dollar over a hundred years. It has a lot of tolerances, exaggerations, etc., and according to PPP, the royal ruble is generally equal to 510-520 rubles. But there are many questions to such calculations, and let's still stop at the 1: 715 rate (although both conversion methods will still have critics).
Well known are the salaries of townspeople in the early twentieth century and our time. But here we must immediately make an important reservation: the urban population then amounted to 15-20%, and 80-85% lived in the countryside. We will mention the peasants below.
- The average salary of workers was 30 rubles - 21, 5 thousand rubles for our money. Skilled workers in a few modern factories of that time could receive 50-70 rubles, or 35-50 thousand. Conclusion: in the provinces, modern workers receive about the same as their counterparts of the tsarist era. In Moscow and at factories of raw materials processing (metallurgical, chemical, etc.) - more, at the level of skilled workers of that time.
- Janitor 18 - rubles or 11 thousand for modern money. In the provinces, janitors receive the same amount, in Moscow and a number of large cities - more.
- Second lieutenant (modern analogue - lieutenant) 70 rubles or 50 thousand for modern money. Salaries have hardly changed in a hundred years.
- A policeman (ordinary police officer) 20, 5 rubles or 15 thousand for modern money. Today a policeman gets 2, 5-3 times more.
- Primary school teacher 25 rubles or 18 thousand for modern money. In the provinces, the teacher receives not much more, in Moscow, 3 or more times.
Approximately the same amount - 20-25 rubles - was received by ordinary post office employees, pharmacist assistants, orderlies, librarians, etc. Today their colleagues have about the same salaries.
- Gymnasium teacher 70 rubles or 50 thousand for modern money. In good gymnasiums, teachers today receive 1, 5 or more times more.
- Doctor 100 rubles or 70 thousand for modern money. In the provinces, doctors now receive less, in Moscow - about the same.
- Colonel 325 rubles or 230 thousand rubles. Officially, the colonel now receives less.
- Privy councilor (high-class official) 500 rubles, or 360 thousand for modern money. Heads of departments, the deputy minister today officially receive about the same or less (but they have various allowances).
- Deputies of the State Duma received a salary of 350 rubles, or 250 thousand for modern money. Now the deputies of the State Duma receive about 1.5 times more.
- Governors had salaries of about 1 thousand rubles, or 700 thousand for our money, and ministers - 1.500 rubles a month, or 1 million rubles for modern money.Officially, governors now receive 2-4 times less, a number of ministers - about the same.
Conclusion: on average, the level of wages has not changed much over a hundred years.
Now about the costs. It is a little more difficult to compare here, since in different cities, in different stores and in the markets, prices can differ significantly. But we will still compare to get at least some picture.
- A loaf of fresh rye bread weighing 400 grams - 4 kopecks, or 28 rubles for modern money. The prices are about the same.
- A loaf of white butter bread weighing 300 grams - 7 kopecks, or 50 rubles for our money. Now white bread is a little cheaper.
Potatoes 1 kilogram - 15 kopecks, or 100 rubles. Now potatoes are cheaper.
- Pasta not made from durum wheat 1 kilogram - 20 kopecks, or 150 rubles. Prices are about the same.
-Durum flour pasta 1 kilogram - 32 kopecks, or 220 rubles. Prices are roughly similar.
- Granulated sugar 1 kilogram - 25 kopecks, or 180 rubles. Sugar is cheaper now.
- Coffee beans 1 kilogram - 2 rubles, or 1400 rubles. The prices are about the same.
- Table salt 1 kilogram - 3 kopecks, or 210 rubles. Salt is cheaper now.
- Fresh milk 1 liter - 14 kopecks, or 100 rubles. Milk is cheaper now.
- Cheese of average quality of Russian production 1 kilogram - 70 kopecks, or 500 rubles. Now the prices are about the same.
- Butter 1 kilogram - 1 ruble 20 kopecks, or 850 rubles. Oil is cheaper now.
- Sunflower oil 1 liter - 40 kopecks, or 280 rubles. Now it is several times cheaper.
- Steamed chicken 1 kilogram - 80 kopecks, or 560 rubles. Now the chicken is several times cheaper.
- Eggs for one dozen - 25 kopecks, or 180 rubles. Today eggs are two to three times cheaper.
- Beef steamed tenderloin 1 kilogram - 70 kopecks, or 500 rubles. Roughly the same prices.
- Meat pork neck 1 kilogram - 40 kopecks, or 280 rubles. Now it costs a little more.
- Fresh fish pike perch 1 kg - 50 kopecks, or 350 rubles. Now it is about the same.
- Cigarettes 10 pieces - 6 kopecks, i.e. 12 kopecks for 20 pieces, or 85 rubles. The prices are about the same.
Now there are a few prices for clothes.
- A shirt under a suit - 3 rubles, or 2,100 rubles. Roughly the same prices.
- Business suit for clerks (lower middle class) - 8 rubles, or 5700 rubles. About the same. A business suit for a university teacher - 18 rubles, or 13 thousand rubles. About the same.
- Long coat - 15 rubles, or 11 thousand rubles. About the same.
- Summer boots for the middle class - 10 rubles, or 7 thousand. The prices are similar.
A number of other goods and services.
- Import car of the middle level - 2.000 rubles, or 1.4 million rubles. The prices are about the same.
- Rent a furnished room 20-25 sq. m in a good area of the city - 25 rubles, or 18 thousand rubles. Roughly the same prices.
-Rent a three-room apartment (not counting the servants' room) in a good area of the city - 80-100 rubles, or 60-70 thousand rubles. Prices are lower for Moscow (taking into account the fact that the area of such an apartment could reach 100 sq. M or more) and about the same for other large cities of Russia.
Taking into account the balances of income and expenses, we see that the standard of living of the average city dweller at the beginning of the twentieth century and the present time has not changed much (something has become a little cheaper, something is the same), but still, at first glance, it has slightly increased. But important clarifications are required here.
Firstly, the working day for most workers was then longer - an average of 10 hours instead of the current 8 hours. Secondly, many workers worked 6 days a week, and few could afford the current paid vacation of 28 days (blue-collar workers and small employees had a maximum of one week of vacation a year).
Secondly, at that time, women almost did not engage in hired labor, but were housewives, or (at most) were engaged in subsistence farming - when conditions on the outskirts of cities made it possible to have cattle and a vegetable garden. More often than not, women sat with children and worked around the house.
Third, families at that time had more children than they do today. In cities, 3-5 children were the norm. And therefore the husband's income - the only income - then had to be divided by 5-7 people.Today (with a few exceptions) two incomes - a husband and a wife with 1-2 children - are divided into 3-4 people.
Fourthly, at that time the majority of employees had no pensions and almost no social benefits. Most of the middle class had to save money for old age (for example, to create rent in the form of buying real estate).
(And we still do not take into account the factor of the high cost of household living - many families, especially with a large number of children, had to have cooks and other domestic workers. We had to go shopping almost every day (except for winter), since there were no refrigerators. firewood for the winter. Etc.)
Taking these four factors into account, the standard of living of the townspeople on average per person (husband, wife and children; i.e., the per capita level) has grown significantly in our time.
As mentioned above, 80-85% of the population of tsarist Russia were peasants. Basically, they lived on a semi-subsistence economy. Taking into account the production of their own products "for themselves" and from the sale, the peasants had an income of 30-50 rubles per person per year from seasonal work (in some cases, even more - near large cities, when it was possible to conduct intensive farming; data of the American historian Seymour Becker from the book "The Myth of the Russian Nobility: Nobility and Privileges of the Last Period of Imperial Russia"). Taking into account the fact that families were on average 6-7 people, the total income of the household was 200-300 rubles per year. families. With our money, the income per person in the village was only 2,500-3,000 rubles a month.
That is, if you take the average city dweller of that time and the huge mass of peasants, then the income of the average Russian will be "diluted" to 5-6 thousand rubles a month for modern money. Now these incomes are many times greater.
It turns out that the main achievement over these hundred years is a sharp increase in city dwellers, from 15-20% to 70-80%, and, accordingly, due to this, and an increase in the standard of living in general. Whether this is the merit of the communist and then liberal authorities, or is it a general result of world progress - everyone can answer based on their political views. There is only one thing that cannot be denied: in Russia, as in other similar countries, which late embarked on the path of industrial development and modernity, the descendants of the peasants won the most in the twentieth century.