In its 50 Cheapest Countries To Live In ranking, the U.S. finance resource GoBankingRates ranks Belarus 27th.
“You’ll get a fairytale feeling living among the charming countryside, palaces and fortresses in Belarus. Enjoy ‘happily ever after’ with a cost of living that’s 66 percent cheaper than NYC. Groceries are a mere 28 percent of NYC cost, and rents are 89 percent less,” the article reads.
In U.S. dollar terms, Belarusians pay for their subsistence needs more than Ukrainians, Moldavians and Poles, but less than the vast majority of the countries listed in the ranking.
Indeed, as a result of a series of devaluations prices in dollars have gone down in Belarus. Over the last four years, the Belarusian ruble has depreciated against the dollar by more than half. And the prices in rubles, according to official statistics, have grown by only 60% during this period. It turns out that for those spending dollars in our country, living in Belarus has become cheaper by almost a quarter when compared to the beginning of 2014.
According to the National Statistics Committee, the Belarusians’ salaries in dollar terms have been down by about 25%. Therefore, one can conclude that our current standard of living is the same as it was four years ago. But, in fact, a growing gap between the rich and the poor has not been taken into account. IT specialists, financial experts and a number of other highly paid professionals are really earning more, but dollar salaries of workers and clerks, according to the National Statistics Committee, have fallen by a third.
“Those who are well-paid or close to power circles have a good life. But in general, the standard of living of the population has decreased,” Professor of Economics Leanid Zaika states.
During this same period the dollar salary of Ukrainians decreased by one third, against the backdrop of economic and military attacks from Russia, but there has been also a bigger cut in prices than that in Belarus. At the same time, our European neighbours can boast of a stable growth. For the past four years, the average salary of Poles has increased by 8%, in Lithuania – by about 30%.