Radio Liberty reports that official figures showed on April 5 that the number of Russians living in poverty reached 19.8 million last year -- the highest in a decade -- after an oil crisis and Western sanctions over Ukraine drove Russia's economy into recession.

The total of impoverished Russians rose 300,000 from 19.5 million in 2015, Rosstat figures showed.

Last year, more than 13 percent of the population earned incomes below the minimum deemed acceptable, which was defined during the fourth quarter as 9,691 rubles ($171) a month.

It was the highest level of poverty since 2006, when 21.6 million were surviving on less than the minimum income. But it was down by half from the poverty level of more than 40 million in 2000.

In 2014, before a collapse in oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine plunged Russia into a deep recession, the poverty level stood at 16.1 million.

The recession was accompanied by soaring prices that severely hit consumers' purchasing power, though the ruble has risen in recent months.

With so many Russian scraping to get by, consumer spending remains sluggish, despite a recent uptick in economic activity.