The speaker of the State Duma uses a bad joke to try to manage popular anger about raising Russia's retirement age

Meduza
17:41, 13 august 2018

Over the weekend, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin attended a town hall meeting in Saratov, where a woman asked the inevitable question about lawmakers’ initiative to raise the country’s retirement age.

“We won’t live [to collect payments under the new system]! We’re barely crawling, as it is,” the woman told Volodin, who tried awkwardly to lighten the mood by joking that the elderly can always start hitting the gym to stay alive.

In mid-July, carried by Volodin’s political party, United Russia, the State Duma voted to adopt the first reading of legislation that would raise the country’s retirement age from 60 to 65 for men by 2028, and from 55 to 63 for women by 2034. The final vote tally was 328 in favor and 104 opposed. Deliberations on amendments to the legislation are scheduled to conclude by September 24. According to sociological studies, roughly 89 percent of Russia’s population opposes the pension reform plan.