As of August 10, Russian federal election officials have approved the wording of five separate national referendum proposals on legislation that would raise the country’s retirement age. On Friday, Election Commission Head Ella Pamfilova called on the groups promoting these initiatives to “unite” their efforts, to avoid “devaluing the idea of staging a referendum.” “The more we make decisions [about referendums], the less likely it is that anybody will reach this referendum,” she warned.
A referendum on pension reform will be triggered as soon as one of these groups registers 43 regional divisions and then collects two million signatures in support of the initiative (with no more than 50,000 endorsements in a single region). According to sociological studies, roughly 89 percent of Russia’s population opposes the plan to raise the retirement age. The last time Russia held a national referendum was in 1993.