While Europe is being creeped out by a shortage of gas, firewood and coal are rapidly becoming more expensive in Russia

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While Europe is being creeped out by a shortage of gas, firewood and coal are rapidly becoming more expensive in Russia
While Europe is being creeped out by a shortage of gas, firewood and coal are rapidly becoming more expensive in Russia
21 September, 09:57
In Russia, coal and firewood have risen in price significantly over the year - by 22% and 19%, respectively. Experts call it a tragedy of the Russian economy, and State Duma deputies promise to sort it out.

Yekaterina Maksimova

According to Rosstat ( a table with average consumer prices for goods and services), in August 2022, a ton of coal is sold for 3.66 thousand rubles (about 3 thousand rubles according to data for August 2021). The average price for firewood rose to 1.76 thousand rubles per cubic meter. A year ago, a cubic meter of such products was sold for 1.48 thousand rubles.

The Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Karachay-Cherkessia, Crimea, Altai Territory, Kaliningrad Region became anti-leaders in terms of prices.

"Novye Izvestia" contacted several sellers of firewood and coal to the population. All of them unanimously confirmed that this product has risen in price. And this happened especially noticeably after February 2022. The reason for the price jump is the increase in costs.

"Let's calculate: at the beginning of the year, a liter of oil with which we dilute gasoline (for a chainsaw - ed. note) cost 500 rubles. Now we buy it for 1200 rubles. Rubber for some GAZ-3307 cost 6300 rubles, now already 13,900 rubles. Well, obviously not a 20% increase for us. Of course, against this background, the most popular firewood - birch, has already risen in price: from 1.47 rubles per cubic meter to 1.76 rubles per cubic meter. Grandmothers are crying, they ask why it’s so expensive, they complain that there’s nothing to heat stoves or baths with, well, but it’s at a loss for us to work...", - said one of the owners of the company selling firewood and coal, who wished to remain anonymous.

Minus a small difference in prices prevailing in the regions, other market participants describe the situation in a similar way.

On August 10, the European Union began to ban the import of coal from Russia. "And we went to the East. We started supplying coal to Asia, but at a big discount. For example, our coal is now being bought by India at a very decent discount", - Dmitry Zhuravlev, general director of the Institute of Regional Problems, said.

The main volume of timber and lumber exports also fell on Asian "friendly" countries. First of all, China. As RBC reported with reference to Roslesinforg (a division of Rosleskhoz), in the first half of the year, the volume of exports of sawn timber (beams, boards, sawlogs) increased by 10%, to 11.2 million cubic meters. Almost 70% of exports went to China and Uzbekistan, 30% to "unfriendly" countries.

“We are an export economy, we are not interested in the domestic market. And this is our main tragedy, both economic and social”. Dmitry Zhuravlev commented. In his opinion, Russia will have enough capacity to supply the same coal to both the domestic and foreign markets.

"But the question is that with more expensive exports, manufacturers are not very interested in selling on the domestic market. They are sure that they will sell abroad. Sooner or later. With or without a discount. Our system is built in such a way that it is not economically profitable to trade within the country We produce raw materials for a foreign economy", - Zhuravlev assessed the data of Rosstat.

In his opinion, it is quite easy to stop the rise in prices in the domestic market. For example, to introduce a tax. And some part of coal or timber would be sold to the state at a fixed rate, the rest - at a market price.

“Plus, of course, to continue not even gasification, but electrification. Our average gasification level in the country is about 70%. And in the Far Eastern Federal District, the situation is even worse. There are still coal-fired power plants. not a single diesel power plant", - the director general of the Institute of Regional Problems summed up.

State Duma deputy, secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Sergey Obukhov assured "NI" that according to this information - the increase in the cost of coal and firewood for the population - he would prepare a "relevant request".

"I think that the deputy corps needs to urgently respond to this. We already had such excesses last year and the regional and federal authorities reacted to them. We need to raise public opinion. We need to involve the FAS and regional administrations. There is a legislative basis for this," - Communist Sergei Obukhov told our publication.

PJSC "Gazprom" is responsible for gasification of Russian regions. The Gazprom program, divided into five years, started in 2005. During this time, the volume of investments in the gasification of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation exceeded 500 billion rubles. For almost a decade and a half, the level of gasification has grown by 18% and the average level of availability of "blue fuel" in the country is 70%. Well, the inhabitants of one-third of the country still heat their homes with wood and coal.

As a reminder, at the end of 2021, PJSC Gazprom received a record profit of 2.1 trillion rubles (according to IFRS), which is 13.3 times more than a year earlier. Sales revenue increased by almost 60% and amounted to 10.2 trillion rubles. Net proceeds from the sale of gas increased by 85% to 5.6 trillion rubles.

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