Support The Moscow Times!

Russian Deputies Complain About High Porridge Prices in State Canteen

Nor will the higher price be much of a burden on lawmakers' wallets. Krista / Flickr

As food prices soar around the nation, a lawmaker in Russia's lower house of parliament has spoken out on a deeply troubling issue: the rising cost of porridge in the parliament's cafeteria.

Sergei Ivanov, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, on Wednesday called on his colleagues to wage the war against inflation every day, beginning in their very own backyard.

"In our cafeteria, the price of a bowl of porridge has risen 150 percent," news agency Interfax quoted Ivanov as saying. "We can't even make sense of that — before it cost 20 rubles, now 53 rubles."

The deputy's announcement caused such a stir that a spokesman for the Office of Presidential Affairs decided to set the record straight.

"We don't live in a vacuum," spokesman Viktor Khrekov told Interfax, explaining that if wholesalers raise their prices, the cost of food in the State Duma's cafeteria must automatically rise too.

The average price of food products soared 15.4 percent last year and is expected to continue rising as Russia's ban on a group of Western food imports and the steep devaluation of the ruble take their toll.

In a separate interview with radio station Govorit Moskva, spokesman Khrekov said that the Office of Presidential Affairs considers its prices "quite low," as — being a state enterprise — it can keep markups to a minimum.

And in truth, even the new price of 53 rubles ($0.80) is quite a deal. In the popular Russian cafe chain Coffee House, a bowl of wheat or rice porridge will cost you 145 rubles ($2.10).

Nor will the higher price be much of a burden on lawmakers' wallets. State Duma deputies earned 420,000 rubles ($6,200) a month as of September last year, newspaper Argument?? i Fakty reported.

This is more than 13 times the salary of the average Russian, who earned about 32,000 rubles ($500) a month at that time, according to state statistics service Rosstat.

The Duma deputy's complaints reaped withering irony on Russian social media. "That's it, a revolt is coming," one user wrote on Twitter.

Others marveled at the extraordinarily low porridge prices the Duma had enjoyed to begin with.

"In my journalism faculty (which is near the State Duma, incidentally), porridge even a year ago was way more expensive. And for some reason this didn't bother the deputies," journalist Alyona Vershinina wrote on Twitter.

Contact the author at

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more