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82% of Russians See Steep Prices Rises as Nation's Biggest Problem – Poll

Inflation is the biggest concern for Russians with 82 percent of the population picking it as the most pressing issue facing the country, according to a poll published by the independent Levada Center on Monday.

The figure is up from 71 percent in August, and from 69 percent this time last year.

Price rises have gathered pace in Russia in recent months, fueled by a food import ban imposed by the Kremlin and the ruble's rapid devaluation last year when it lost more than 40 percent against the U.S. dollar. Moscow in August banned select food imports for a year from countries that had sanctioned it over its role in the Ukraine crisis.

Food inflation has outpaced total inflation, which hit 16.7 percent in February.

Poverty was the second most pressing issue, selected by 43 percent, followed by rising unemployment, which was picked by 38 percent, the Levada Center said.

A majority of Russians — 55 percent — also said the government was failing to deal with inflation and falls in real income, according to the Levada Center. The poll was held on Feb. 20-23, surveying 1,600 people across 46 of Russia's regions. The statistical margin of error was no more than 3.4 percent, the pollster said.

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