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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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

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(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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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin] Conversation with 2018 FIFA World Cup volunteers. [Excerpt re: Pension Reform]; During his visit to the Kaliningrad Stadium, Vladimir Putin met with 2018 FIFA World Cup volunteers” – KremlinRu

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(Kremlin.ru – July 20, 2018) * * * Question: Mr President, can I ask you a question not related to sports? Yesterday the State Duma adopted amendments to pension legislation in the first reading. Of course, you monitor the Government’s proposals. It is very important for us to know your opinion on this issue. Remark: Galina, I do not think […]

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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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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

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

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(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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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

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“… 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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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

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

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“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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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

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“… 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

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“… 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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Russia Ranked Among Worst Countries to Be a Pensioner

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 20, 2017) Russia has staked its claim as one of the five worst countries in the world for pensioners, according to a new report. The Natixis Global Retirement Index ranks Russia 40th out of 43 countries worldwide – below Turkey, China, and Mexico. Only Brazil, Greece, and India have an even lower score. Russia […]

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Moscow Counting on Russians Passively Accepting Raising Pension Age beyond Male Life Expectancy

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(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 2, 2016) The Russian government doesn’t have to worry about widespread protests over its reported plans to raise the pension age of Russian males in 2018 to one older than their average life expectancy, a Russian scholar in Yakutsk says. The opposition will complain, but it doesn’t have the votes in […]

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Finance Ministry’s Nesterenko: retirement age increase ‘inevitable’

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KRASNOGORSK. Oct 9 (Interfax) – The interim decisions approved for next year in light of the budget deficit do not eliminate the need to raise the retirement age. The draft budget for 2016 approved by the government this week indexes pensions by just 4%, rather than the actual inflation rate in 2015 (about 12%), with an option to conduct a […]

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Reinventing the Babushka Concept

Two Babushkas file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru – Natalia Yamnitskaya, special to RBTH – March 7, 2013) A “babushka” used to spend her time babysitting grandchildren and gardening, but today’s retirees are taking advantage of a wide range of opportunities. Olga Kuznetsova, who graces the floor of a dance studio in an elegant dress and heels, can hardly be described as […]

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