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Russia's Communists say Putin poverty promises won't wash

VLADIMIR PUTIN’S pledges to raise living standards and fight poverty in Russia were dismissed today as “half measures” which would not make up for his own government’s attacks on social security.

President Putin’s state of the nation speech promised preferential mortgages and new child benefit payments for large families, an attempt to reverse the population decline that set in following the restoration of capitalism in 1991.

He also promised tax breaks for property developers, supposedly to solve the housing crisis, and promised action to help the 19 million Russians who live below the official poverty line.

But communist MP Denis Parfenov said the measures “only partially reflect what the opposition in the form of the Communist Party has been proposing for years.”

They “are only a small part of the surplus that is available in the budget and comparable to the funds confiscated from the people by the recent pension reform alone.”

And he said a cabinet full of yes-men who “defend the interests of big business and oligarchs will continue to do so.

“Either Putin will have to shake up his entire team, or his proposals remain a sop against the background of the robbery of the population by the capitalist class.”

The Communist Party is the biggest opposition party in Russia, though it still only has 43 of 450 seats in a Duma whose elections it has condemned for widespread fraud and ballot-rigging.

Mr Putin focused on domestic politics in his speech, though he also said he was open to renewed dialogue with the United States on nuclear disarmament following President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty.

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