When it comes to pension reforms, Russian lawmakers are told to put their stupid comments about Putin in their pockets
State Duma deputies have reportedly been told to refrain from criticizing Vladimir Putin on Thursday, during debate on the first reading of legislation that would raise Russia’s retirement age. According to the newspaper Vedomosti, citing a source close to the Communist Party’s leadership, similar instructions have been issued regarding Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, though lawmakers apparently have slightly more room to speak critically about him.
Representatives of the Communist Party, “Just Russia,” and Russia’s Liberal Democratic Party have all denied that any such restrictions are in place. Communist deputy Yuri Afonin speculates that the rumor is a planted story intended to shift the public’s attention from pension reform to a supposed Kremlin conspiracy.
Twelve regions across the country — Dagestan, Chechnya, Yakutia, Kamchatka, Irkutsk, Kemerovo, Omsk, Oryol, Yaroslavl, and Russia’s Jewish autonomous regions, as well as Moscow — have formally objected to the plan to raise the retirement age. The chairman of the State Duma’s Labor, Social Policy, and Veterans’ Affairs Committee previously claimed that 77 of Russia’s 85 regions had formally responded to the pension initiative, and supposedly none of them objected to the legislation.
Russia’s Civic Chamber, headed by former Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin, has also filed formal objections to the current legislation, arguing that the draft bill fails to specify what calculations will determine the relationship between higher retirement ages and pension benefits’ annual inflation adjustments, as well as under what conditions Russia’s pension system will be balanced in the long term. Kudrin’s group also warns that the legislation doesn't consider how the government’s planned measures to boost life expectancy will affect how many Russians live to claim their pensions.
What's all this about? In June, the Russian government submitted draft legislation to the State Duma, establishing a plan to raise the country’s retirement age from 60 to 65 for men by 2028, and from 55 to 63 for women by 2034. Public opinion polls show that Russians largely oppose this proposal, and one of the most common objections is that people fear they won’t live to collect their pensions under the new system. Russia has witnessed relatively small but nationwide protests against the pension age hike.