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Experts claim Putin's citizenship program in eastern Ukraine will cost Russia 100 billion rubles a year

Source: Meduza

Experts polled by the news website The Bell estimate that Vladimir Putin’s decision this week to simplify the path to citizenship for millions of people living in Ukraine’s separatist-controlled Donbas region will cost Moscow at least 100 billion rubles ($1.6 billion) in additional annual social-security payments.

Meanwhile, Russia’s labor and social protection minister, Maxim Topilin, told the news agency TASS that pension payments to those receiving Russian citizenship in eastern Ukraine won’t be a “heavy burden” on Russia’s Pension Fund.

According to the magazine RBC, there are roughly 1 million retirement-age people living in the DNR and LNR. According to federal regulations, Russia’s minimum monthly pension is currently pegged at 8,846 rubles ($135). The average monthly pension nationwide is now 14,000 rubles ($215).

Ukraine’s Treasury and National Bank, which issue welfare checks, retirement payments, and public servants’ salaries, have not operated in the separatist-controlled east since the summer of 2014. Journalists have said repeatedly that the Russian government has taken on these expenses, but Moscow has never confirmed these reports.

The 2019 budget for Russia’s Pension Fund is 8.6 trillion rubles ($133 billion).

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