The Irish Crimean: Comparing level of salaries in Russia and the West is meaningless


July 30, 2017 – Fort Russ News – 

Op-ed by Padraig Joseph McGrath – “The Irish Crimean”

In Ireland, or most other Western countries for that matter, I would have to spend 6 times more money to buy a loaf of bread than I do in Russia.

And the loaf of bread which I would buy in Ireland would have less than one third of the nutritional value of a loaf of Russian Darnitsky khleb.

Salaries and GDP per capita are meaningless, guys.

If you want to know how “wealthy” a person is, then look at the nutritional value of the food which they can buy, look at the quality of the materials which were used to build the housing which they occupy.

Russians sometimes have great difficulty understanding this – it is MEANINGLESS to compare their salaries with the salary of a person who does the same job in an EU country. This comparison is meaningless as a measure of their comparative material standard of living.

I lived in Ireland for 28 years, in Germany for 1 year, in London for 1 year, and in the Czech Republic for 9 years.

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The average industrial salary in Ireland is about 30,000 Euros per year, and about half that in the Czech Republic.

And yet Irish people, Czechs and Londoners STILL have to spend on average almost half their salaries on housing. Furthermore, in all three places, the quality of the housing (materials, tradesmanship, etc) is usually extremely bad.

One of the reasons why tuberculosis is the fastest-growing disease in present-day Britain is because of all the bad quality housing.

The quality of basic food-products is not bad in the Czech Republic, but in Ireland and Britain, it is absolutely dreadful.

So how can we say that a person is “wealthier” if they still have to pay almost half their salary for very poor quality housing, and if they have access to an extremely poor standard of nutrition? Forget about per-capita income or GDP per capita – these comparisons between Russia and inflated economies are meaningless.

Take a look at the quality of the basic material things in the everyday culture. Take a look at the food. How heavy and solid is the loaf of bread in your hand? Are the tomatoes juicy? Is the meat contaminated? Take a look at the building-materials.

Maybe most Russians are not quite as poor as they think they are….


Padraig McGrath was born in the Republic of Ireland in 1973. He has lived in Britain, Germany and the Czech Republic, and has published journalism and commentary on social and philosophical issues for a number of media for 15 years. He moved to Simferopol, Crimea in December 2013, 3 months before Crimea’s re-unification with Russia, and still lives there.

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