RUSSIALINK: “Medvedev: Pension Reform Was Hardest Decision of the Past Decade” – Moscow Times

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 6, 2018) Russia’s prime minister on Thursday said that this summer’s decision to raise the retirement age was the hardest the authorities have had to make in the past 10 years. Dmitry Medvedev, who became prime minister in 2012 and served as Russia’s president for a four-year term starting in 2008, announced plans to raise […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin’s Approval Rating Lowest Since 2013 – Poll” – Moscow Times/ Levada Center

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 25, 2018) President Vladimir Putin’s approval rating has fallen to 66 percent, its lowest level since 2013, according to a recent poll published by the independent Levada Center. Putin’s popularity has been hurt by controversial legislation he signed earlier this month to raise the pension eligibility age to 65 for men and 60 for […]

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‘They’ve Stolen Everything’: In Russia’s Far East, Dreams Deferred Amid Grim Mood Over Pension Reform

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(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Matthew Luxmoore – October 14, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/in-russia-s-far-east-dreams-deferred-amid-grim-mood-over-pension-reform/29542683.html) USSURIYSK, Russia — An unusually warm spell in early October filled this Far Eastern city’s central square with couples and schoolkids enjoying the last bright evenings before the onset of winter. Steps from the main landmark, a monument honoring […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s pension reform still seen as unjust, but less willing to protest” – bne Intellinews [Sept. 27, 2018]

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“The number of Russians willing to protest … unpopular pension reform and the hiking of the retirement age has dropped … from 53% in September to 35% in August, according to [the] Levada Center …. confirm[ing] previous reports that … Putin scaling back the reform managed to calm the masses. … [But] downplaying and squeezing the reform, despite popular discontent, […]

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Russians Are Much Less Willing to Protest Retirement Age Hike, Poll Says

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 27, 2018) Fewer Russians are willing to take to the streets against government plans to raise the retirement age, according to an independent Levada Center poll. A majority of Russian respondents said they were willing to join protests against the unpopular reform in August, before President Vladimir Putin introduced several concessions to quell public […]

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Russian Retirement-Age Hike Advances As Putin’s Adjustment Approved

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – September 26, 2018 – article also appeared at rferl.org/a/duma-approves-putin-s-revised-proposal-to-raise-retirement-age-for-women/29510648.html) An unpopular plan to raise the retirement age has advanced in the Russian legislature after lawmakers overwhelmingly approved President Vladimir Putin’s proposal to limit the increase for women to five years — to age 60 — instead of eight. Deputies […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Pension bill passes 2nd reading in State Duma, 3rd reading due on Thursday” – Interfax

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. Sept 26 (Interfax) – Russia’s State Duma has passed the second and main reading of the bill on pension reform, which envisages a gradual increase of the retirement age. The deputies unanimously (385 votes) supported all amendments to the bill initiated by Russian President Vladimir Putin. A total of 326 deputies voted for the bill at the second reading, […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Authorized protest against higher retirement age held in Novosibirsk” – Interfax

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NOVOSIBIRSK. Sept 13 (Interfax) – A protest against the higher retirement age took place in Novosibirsk on Thursday at the initiative of the Novosibirsk regional federation of trade unions. ‘The organizers expected a 3,000 turnout, yet the Interior Ministry counted 600 people at the rally,” Novosibirsk city administration spokesman Sergei Polyansky told Interfax. The chair of the Novosibirsk regional federation […]

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Differences between Male and Female Life Expectancy in Russia ‘Largest in the World,’ New Study Says

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 10, 2018) On average, women in Russia live 11 years longer than men do, according to a study conducted by Russian and Western scholars that has been published in Britain’s authoritative medical journal, The Lancet (thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)31485-5/fulltext). The study focused on trends between 1980 and 2016 and noted that the difference between […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Fury Over Pension Changes Hurts Putin Allies in Russian Regional Elections” – Reuters

Russia Regions Map

“Russia’s ruling United Russia Party suffered a rare setback in regional elections despite winning most of the seats, a reversal its leaders and election chiefs blamed on unpopular plans to raise the pension age. … [R]esults in weekend voting for heads of about one third of Russia’s regions were the worst for United Russia … since elections for regional leaders […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Fury Over Pension Age Hike Clouds Moscow Mayoral Election” – Reuters

Sergei Sobyanin file photo

“Polls show … [that Sergei Sobyanin] will comfortably be re-elected Moscow’s mayor on Sunday, but public anger over planned increases to the nationwide pension age means many voters may stay away, tarnishing his win. … [in] the first test at the ballot box for the authorities since Putin, whose popularity has tumbled by around 15 percent due to anger over […]

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RUSSIALINK: “A Just Russia offers Communists to pool efforts for pension referendum – Mironov” – Interfax

Russian State Duma Building file photo

ROSTOV-ON-DON. Sept 3 (Interfax) – The parliament factions of the Russian Communist Party and A Just Russia should pool efforts to make the pension referendum happen, A Just Russia’s faction leader Sergei Mironov said at a press conference in Rostov-on-Don. “I have offered our Communist Party colleagues in the State Duma to combine efforts [towards holding the referendum]. Clearly, everything […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Liability for firing people of pre-pension age may bar them from employment – FNPR head” – Interfax

File Photo of Empty Chair and Desk with Computer, adapted from image at osha.gov

MOSCOW. Aug 31 (Interfax) – The introduction of criminal liability for employers who dismiss people of pre-pension age may have a negative effect on workers, Mikhail Shmakov, the head of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR), said. “We need to be very careful about the proposal to introduce criminal liability for employers hiring or dismissing people of […]

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Ladies’ Man: Putin Cites ‘Caring Attitude’ In Pension-Reform Concession

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(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Carl Schreck – Aug. 29, 2018 – also appeared at https://www.rferl.org/a/ladies-man-putin-cites-caring-attitude-in-pension-reform-concession/29460024.html) Russian President Vladimir Putin reserved the weightiest of his cautious concessions on a controversial pension-reform plan for Russian women, who outnumber their male counterparts by 10 million and live — and vote — considerably longer. Citing what he called […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin Dials Back Pension Plan After Backlash” – Wall Street Journal/Ann M. Simmons

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

“… Putin softened a plan to raise pension ages to bolster state finances, a rare backtrack following a public outcry that cut his approval ratings to the lowest level in more than four years. … Putin proposed that the pension age for women be increased from 55 to 60 instead of the 63 years proposed by parliament. He didn’t propose […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “The [Russian] President’s address to Russian citizens [re pension reform]” – KremlinRu

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(Kremlin.ru – August 29, 2018 – en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/58405) President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Citizens of Russia, friends, On June 16, 2018, the Government submitted to the State Duma a draft law on reforming the pension system, and on June 19, the draft passed its first reading in Parliament. The law’s main purpose is to ensure that the pension system remains sustainable […]

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RUSSIALINK: “The State Duma Debated Pension Reform. Here’s What You Need to Know; Russian experts review the State Duma’s two-day discussion on the unpopular bill” Moscow Times/EVAN GERSHKOVICH

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – EVAN GERSHKOVICH – August 22, 2018) The State Duma convened this week to discuss the widely unpopular pension reform bill announced earlier this summer. Under the proposed bill, the retirement age for men would increase from 60 to 65 years by 2028, and from 55 to 63 by 2034 for women. Opponents of the proposal […]

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Yes Or No: Is A Referendum In The Cards Over Russian Pension Reform?

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Lyubov Chizhova, Robert Coalson – MOSCOW, August 10, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/yes-or-no-is-a-referendum-in-the-cards-over-russian-pension-reform-/29426658.html) It has been a quarter century since the Russian government asked its citizens their opinion on anything in a formal national referendum. But a proposed referendum on the hot-button issue of raising retirement ages moved one […]

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Not So United: Russia’s Ruling Party Rattled By Pension-Reform Crisis

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Yelizaveta Mayetnaya, Robert Coalson – August 5, 2018 [Text with links and graphics: rferl.org/a/not-so-united-russia-ruling-party-rattled-by-pension-reform-crisis/29413547.html] Speaking to a riled-up crowd at a July 28 protest against the Russian government’s deeply unpopular proposal to raise retirement ages in Vologda, angry pensioner Nikolai Zharavin didn’t mince words as to who was to […]

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Will Pension Protests ‘Take Down’ Putin?

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(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – August 2, 2018 – Simon Saradzhyan – russiamatters.org/blog/will-pension-protests-take-down-putin) Simon Saradzhyan is the founding director of the Russia Matters Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs This summer’s polls have not been kind to Vladimir Putin and for good reason. The Russian authorities’ drive to raise the country’s pension age has […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russians’ Willingness to Protest is Highest in 2 Decades, Survey Says” – Moscow Times

Moscow Protest File Photo

More Russians are willing to participate in economic and political protests now than in the past two decades, according to a new survey released by the independent Levada Center pollster. Public discontent has spread throughout Russia this summer after the government announced plans to raise the retirement age. The United Russia ruling party saw its approval ratings plummet to seven-year […]

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There is No “Reform” in Russia’s Recent “Pension Reform” Bill | Interview with Evgeny Gontmakher

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(PONARS Eurasia – Maria Lipman, Evgeny Gontmakher – July 26, 2018) [Text of interview here ponarseurasia.org/article/there-no-reform-russias-recent-pension-reform-bill-interview-evgeny-gontmakher] Maria Lipman speaks with Evgeny Gontmacher about the political and socioeconomic implications of raising the retirement age. Gontmacher is the deputy director responsible for social policy projects and recommendations at Aleksei Kudrin’s Committee of Civil Initiatives. Over 1992-2003, he held positions as Head of […]

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Demography Being Abused in Russian Pension Age Debate, Vishnevsky Says

File Photo of Crowd in Russia Including Person Waving Russian Flag with Eagle

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 22, 2018) Both supporters and opponents of the Russian government’s plan to raise retirement ages frequently invoke demographic statistics; but all too often, Anatoly Vishnevsky of Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, they use these figures incorrectly and thus make it more difficult for Russia to solve some of its problems. In […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Communists push for a national referendum against raising the retirement age” – Meduza

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

“Russia’s Central Election Commission has received a notice from the Communist Party about possibly holding a national referendum on raising the country’s retirement age …. [asking] ‘Do you agree that the age in the Russian Federation at which citizens are entitled to old-age social insurance should not increase?’ … the State Duma [has] passed the first reading of draft legislation […]

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NEWSLINK: “What’s Russia’s average pension? How much money will the government save by raising the retirement age? The surprising numbers behind Russian pension reform” – Meduza

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“… $209 is Russia’s average monthly pension, according to the Pension Fund’s January 2018 records … 31.4% of Russians are pensioners. That’s 46 million people ….”  

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NEWSWATCH: “Pension reform” – BMB Russia/Aaron Schwartzbaum

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

“… Russian authorities have been dithering on the pension system literally for year. … [R]egardless of the character of a loss of benefits, pension reform is exactly that: a loss of benefits. … [T[here is another center-periphery dynamic at play …. The average life expectancy has … increased on average … predominantly [for] … middle-class or wealthy urban dwellers. The […]

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Working-Age Russians Now More Pessimistic about Future than Pensioners, Levada Poll Finds

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 17, 2018) The continuing stagnation or worse of the Russian economy has “upended the pyramid of social optimism” in Russia, Mikhail Sergeyev says. Instead of older people being the most pessimistic about the future of their country as is typically the case, now working age Russians are. This finding of the […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Civil Solidarity’s request to authorize rally against pension age increase in Sokolniki on Wednesday approved” – Interfax

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

MOSCOW. July 18 (Interfax) – The administration of the park Sokolniki has approved a request made by the movement Civil Solidarity to authorize a public event on the territory intended for a ‘hyde park’ on July 18. The topic of the event is “Rally against Pension Age Increase,” the culture establishment said on its official portal. The rally will have […]

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Governors Back Moscow’s Pension Plan but Seek Exemptions for Their Own People

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 16, 2018) Caught between the demands of the Kremlin which decides whether they will be in office and the opposing views of their populations that could make their time there easy or difficult, Russia’s governors are simultaneously telling Moscow they support the pension plan but asking it to exempt their own […]

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Pension Fight Highlights Russia’s Fundamental Problem – Its Government, Gontmakher Says

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(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 10, 2018) The fight over Moscow’s proposal to raise the pension age highlights the fact that Russia’s “main problem is a state [which] doesn’t fulfill its functions of serving” the people. Instead, it acts like an enormous corporation that collects rents and doesn’t distribute them in an effective way, economist Yevgeny […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Pension age should be increased in smooth, differentiated fashion – Moskalkova” – Interfax

File Photo of Elders Walking in Russia

MOSCOW. July 11 (Interfax) – The pension age in Russia should not be increased for everyone simultaneously, but for every category of pensioners separately, Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova said. “It seems to me it would be premature to approach all categories of citizens directly in this way, at least bearing in mind the monitoring we have conducted. We […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Pensions in Russia to keep growing after 2024 – Labor Ministry” – Interfax

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. July 9 (Interfax) – Pensions will continue to grow after 2024, but the Labor Ministry is not ready to say at what rate. “We are now calculating everything through 2024, although the calculations undoubtedly cover future periods. We’ll see, it will depend on how we can achieve the current tasks. Without a doubt, we are working on the assumption […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Authorities Prepare to Soften Pension Reform-Sources” – Reuters

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“[Sources claim that] Russian authorities are considering ways to soften a plan to raise the pension age … following protests and a slide in … Putin’s popularity ratings. The government announced its plan last month to raise the retirement age for men to 65 from 60 and for women to 63 from 55 to ease pressure on state coffers from […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Almost 90% of Russians oppose raising retirement age – poll” – Interfax

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MOSCOW. July 5 (Interfax) – An overwhelming majority of Russians disapprove of raising the retirement age and believe that the current age is optimal for both men and women, the Levada Analytical Center said in a statement obtained by Interfax on Thursday. Eighty-nine percent of respondents said they do not want to postpone their retirement. The current retirement age for […]

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Russians Rally Against ‘Cannibalistic’ Pension Reform

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(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – July 1, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russians-rally-against-retirement-age-increase/29330242.html) Thousands of people have taken to the streets across Russia to protest against the government’s plan to raise the retirement age. Labor unions, political parties, and opposition politician Aleksei Navalny had called on Russians to demonstrate on July 1 against a bill […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Daily says Russian leaders’ ratings drop as they announce pension reform; Yelena Mukhametshina and Olga Churakova: President and premier’s ratings go back to what they were several years ago. Effective discussion of pension reform could halt decline in authorities’ popularity” – Vedomosti

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin with Heads Bowed Over Microphone

Vedomosti reports declining reported polling numbers for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, following announcements of pension reform. According to polling numbers published June 22, 2018, FOM [Public Opinion Foundation] indicates: Putin’s electoral rating fell from 62% to 54% in one week those trusting Putin fell from 75% to 67% Putin performance approval ratings fell from 75% […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Unions want to negotiate with the Duma on pension reform” – Bear Market Brief E-Mail Newsletter

Russian State Duma Building file photo

“The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia announced yesterday that they want an increase in the pension age to be part of a ‘package’ of labor market reforms … [such as] raising wages and reinforcing the social safety net …. FITUR is, according to Kommersant’s sources, an entrenched part of the All-Russian People’s Front, a coalition led by United […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Union-Led Protests Against Pension Reform Approved in 30 Cities” – Moscow Times

File Photo of Moscow Winter Protest

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 26, 2018) Authorities have approved union-led protests against the Russian government’s proposed retirement age hike in 30 cities, including one to be held in a World Cup host city, a major labor union said. The Russian government’s announcement on the eve of the World Cup that it would raise the retirement age has been […]

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World Cup May Have Helped Russia But It hasn’t Boosted Putin

File Photo of Putin Sitting at Desk, Looking Down, Writing, During Call-In Show, adapted from screenshot of video at kremlin.ru

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 24, 2018) Many commentators in both Russia and the West have suggested that the World Cup has helped Russia to overcome much of the opprobrium it has suffered as a result of its invasion of Ukraine, its meddling in elections in Western countries and in general its disruptive behavior. And it […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Live Longer, Work Longer, Says Russian Government; But the plan to raise the pension age won’t go down well with most Russians” – Moscow Times

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 18, 2018) A long-shelved plan to raise the pension age risks coming up against a wall of protest, as Russians of all ages cling to their Soviet-era social privileges. Compared to many Western countries, Russians retire early: men at 60 and women at 55. Those who operate heavy machinery or work in difficult conditions […]

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Russians Getting Older, Reducing Pressure for and Likelihood of Change, Pryanikov Says

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 11, 2018) The average age of Russians today is much higher than in the past and will continue to rise in the coming decades, Pavel Pryanikov says; and as a result, the usual source of pressure for change, from members of younger generations, is going to fall, reducing still further the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Authorities begin process of raising retirement age” – Bear Market Brief E-Mail Newsletter

File Photo of Elders Walking in Russia

“… the [Russian] government may submit a draft bill to the Duma to raise the retirement age. … suggest[ing] the strictest variant: 65 years for men, 63 years for women. … likely follow[ing] MinFin’s proposal of increasing the retirement age by one year annually. …  Several key decisions … What to do with those who qualify for early retirement … […]

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Three Prospective Reforms Likely to Hurt Putin with His Political Base in the Population

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 3, 2018) Vladimir Putin has the coercive resources and elite support to remain in office regardless of whether the population supports or deserts him, but at least some of his power depends on his ability to mobilize his base which consists of government employees, industrial workers, and especially pensioners. At present, […]

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Putin vs. Pensions: Will His Reelection Finally Free Him To Tackle Looming Crisis?

File Photo of Elders Walking in Russia

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Mike Eckel – May 16, 2018 – article also appeared at rferl.org/a/putin-vs-pensions-will-his-reelection-finally-free-him-to-tackle-looming-crisis-/29229857.html) It’s been the third rail of Russian politics for years, if not decades, but now an increasingly fragile economy appears to have forced the Kremlin to finally reckon with the country’s pension crisis. Russia’s pension system — […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Kremlin has big plans for the next five years, and it might need to raise Russia’s retirement age to pay for everything” – Meduza

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“… a leaked copy of … Medvedev’s next five-year budget plan … [anticipates] 25 trillion rubles ($403.8 billion) on 13 ‘national projects.’ … repeat[ing] many of the priorities of Medvedev’s … presidency and … Putin[] … executive orders. [kommersant.ru/doc/3628758] … new roads … demography … infrastructure … cancer and ‘the digital economy’ … broadband Internet connections [for] public sector facilities. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian government ‘on the brink’ of increasing retirement ages” – bne Intellinews

Two Babushkas file photo

“Russian government ‘is on the brink’ of increasing retirement age in Russia … Medvedev [said] … The current retirement age of 55/60 years was set in USSR … in [the] 1930’s when average life expectancy was 40 … Medvedev argued … * * * The pension fund deficit currently amount[s] to RUB3.35 trillion ($53bn). In 2015 age pensioners amounted to […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Russian pension system’s 2018 deficit will be twice as big as predicted” – Meduza

File Photo of Elders Walking in Russia

“Russia’s Labor Ministry has amended the Pension Fund’s 2018 budget to reflect a deficit that’s more than twice as high as predicted, rising from 106.6 billion rubles ($1.7 billion) to 256.8 billion rubles ($4.1 billion). The Pension Fund is expected to earn just 66.7 billion rubles ($1.1 billion), while spending 83.5 billion rubles ($1.3 billion). Spokespeople for the Pension Fund […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Won’t Tell Voters How He’ll Pay for Domestic Spending” – Bloomberg/ Evgenia Pismennaya, Andrey Biryukov, Ilya Arkhipov

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“… offering Russians the biggest increase in domestic spending in years … what [Putin] won’t be talking much about is the package of tax hikes, benefit cuts and other changes … to help pay for [it] … possible increases to the pension age and the income tax … cuts in tax breaks for staples like food … [and] co-pays for […]

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NEWSLINK: “What about Pensions? An underlying issue at next year’s presidential elections is how to bring certainty and stability to Russia’s cash-strapped pension system. So far, the authorities have tiptoed around the matter.” – Intersection/ Artem Filatov

Two Babushkas file photo

“… Putin does not plan to retire any time soon. Yet many of his potential voters are worried about their own retirement prospects. Will their pensions be sizeable and reliable? At what age can Russians count on receiving them? During a televised call-in show held in mid-June, the president left this issue hanging. … By not giving any direct answers, the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia to become a net borrower for first time in a decade” – bne Intellinews

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“… Russia has been dipping into its rainy day Reserve Fund to cover the federal budget deficit but this fund is due to run out of money sometime next year. Now the government is actively preparing to dip into its other sovereign fund, the National Welfare Fund, that was set up to meet future pension payments, but now will be […]

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