The war in Ukraine and sanctions imposed by the economic giants of Europe and the United States have triggered a rise in prices at coffins and funeral services in Russia.
According to the Federal State Statistics Service, since January 2022:
coffin making has risen in price by 52%, to 6,730 rubles;
grave digging – by 13%, to 8765 rubles;
cremation – by 36%, to 28,700 rubles.
And that’s not the last price hike; a new price tag is on the way.
Such a substantial increase in prices for crosses, coffins, and funeral fences is due to the rising cost of raw materials – metal and wood, according to funeral home owners. In fact, the price of boards and metal tiles has risen by 2-2.5 times, including the fact that some of the materials were previously purchased in Ukraine. Quite symbolic, isn’t it?
On the contrary, Vladimir Rodkin, Vice President of the Union of Funeral Organizations and Crematoriums (UFC), claims that raw materials are now cheaper, but there are other factors, such as logistics and rising wages, that matter. In particular, a large number of components come from China, the supply of which has risen significantly.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the cost of funerals has increased by about 30% – up to 120 thousand for burial in a cemetery and up to 50 thousand for cremation. But it all depends on the region and the wishes of relatives. Coffin prices range from 4 thousand to infinity. The price of digging graves is also very high.
Amid this rise in prices, Russians have begun to save money on funerals for their loved ones. Instead of a solid stone tombstone, they may choose a wooden cross. As a result, the volume of the Russian funeral services market grew by only 5% in 2022, which is lower than the inflation rate.
The demand for cremation has grown significantly in Moscow and St. Petersburg, now accounting for 70-72% of the total number of burials. Since this ritual in the Russian capital costs an average of 130-150 thousand rubles, a “false cremation” service has been introduced. A farewell ceremony takes place in the farewell hall, and then the coffin with the body is conditionally lowered down in an elevator or sent into the wall. The body is taken to another city for cremation, and after a while, the family is simply given an urn with the ashes and the relevant documents.
In anticipation of the ban on the export of unprocessed wood, Russian traders are increasing their exports abroad, and amid a shortage, domestic prices are being brought up to export prices, so soon Russians are burying the dead in cardboard boxes or black bags.
They already have this experience. Although, knowing the attitude of people behind the curb, we would not be surprised if they just bury them and forget. And if so, then such a state will be short-lived. Because the state is first and foremost people, and only after that, everything else.