Pensioners enjoy free mid-day meal at the Dobrodomik cafe (which translates as "the good little house") in Saint Petersburg on February 11, 2019. AFP / Olga MALTSEVA
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At a Saint Petersburg cafe, a singer performs Soviet-era tunes for 50 pensioners enjoying a mid-day meal.So this cafe is a very, very good idea," Rimma Antsiferova, 72, told AFP.She receives a monthly pension of 10,000 rubles ($150). Never been as hardFollowing an oil boom in the 2000s, Russians have seen their purchasing power steadily decline over the last five years.Gudkov said real incomes in Russia have fallen by "around 13 percent" since 2014 .The average monthly wage is 42,600 rubles.In the short term, Russians are seeing food prices rise fast -- partly caused by the VAT increase from 18 to 20 percent that came into effect on Jan. 1 .The 73-year-old's pension was recently raised by a 1,000 rubles to 12,000 rubles per month.
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