Russia Pension Age Hike Off Table Till 2018 – Fund Head

Two Babushkas file photo

MOSCOW, November 6 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia will not consider raising the retirement age until at least 2018, but will encourage people to work longer, the head of the State Pension Fund said Wednesday.

President Vladimir Putin said during 2011 electoral campaigning that he was against raising the pension age and has frequently restated this position. Russia’s next presidential elections are scheduled for 2018.

“If life expectancy increases, then the retirement age should also increase. But we don’t have any plans in the medium term. The soonest is five years ­ that’s certain,” pension fund chief Anton Drozdov told RIA Novosti in an interview.

As a substitute for raising the retirement age, official policy is to find ways to encourage people to delay the moment when they begin to collect their pension and stay in work for longer, Drozdov said.

Increasing the pension age, which in Russia is 55 for women and 60 for men, would be one way of reducing the State Pension Fund’s spiraling deficit, which is currently covered by direct transfers from the budget.

Slowing economic growth in Russia has forced the government to support a series of budget spending cuts that are likely to come into effect next year.