The opposition politician Alexey Navalny has announced plans to stage protests in 20 cities on July 1 against the government’s proposal to raise Russia's retirement age. Navalny will not attempt to hold demonstrations in Moscow, St. Petersburg, or the other major cities hosting FIFA World Cup games between now and mid-July, where the government has suspended public assembly rights during the soccer tournament.
Navalny has named 17 of the cities where his activists have filed permit requests: Belgorod, Biysk, Izhevsk, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Lipetsk, Murmansk, Novokuznetsk, Novosibirsk, Orenburg, Pskov, Stavropol, Tver, Tomsk, Khabarovsk, and Yaroslavl. Addressing his supporters, Navalny called the government’s plans to raise Russia’s pension age “a true crime” and “the robbery of tens of millions of people.”
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced planned reforms to Russia’s pension system that would start raising the retirement age gradually next year, growing from 55 to 63 for women and from 60 to 65 for men. Meduza wrote about this proposal here and the reaction from the Kremlin and Russia’s labor unions here.
On June 15, the newspaper Vedomosti reported that sources in the Kremlin say the Putin administration is monitoring reactions to the proposed pension reforms very carefully, and is even exploring options to mitigate the changes, fearing mass protests. So far, Vladimir Putin has emphatically distanced himself from the discussion about pension reform. When asked about Putin’s role in the current initiative, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his cabinet are responsible for the policy's development, claiming that Putin isn’t participating in the process at all.