Russia’s controversial pensions reforms softened

29 Aug 18

Vladimir Putin has watered down his controversial pension reforms as he suffers his lowest approval ratings for four years.

The Russian president rowed back on plans to raise the retirement age from 55 to 63 for women in a TV address on Wednesday.

Putin said the pension age increase for women would now be five years (to 60) as opposed to eight years. 

The retirement age for men will be raised as initially planned from the age of 60 to 65.

The pension reform bill, announced on first day of the World Cup in Russia in June, was met with protests in Moscow and St Petersburg.

Putin said that the change was necessary due to Russia’s decreasing working-age population.

A recent poll from  - a non-governmental research organisation - found that Putin’s approval ratings fell from 79% in May of this year to 67% in July, reflecting his lowest approval rating since January 2014.

In the TV address on Wednesday, Putin said: “The main goal is to provide financial stability in our pension system for many years to come, which means not only keeping the same pension rates but also increasing them for current and future pensioners.

“To reach these goals the pension reform bill envisages a gradual rise in pension age.”

Putin said he took the decision to lower the proposed retirement age for women because “there is a special, careful attitude toward women in our country”.

He said mothers with three children can retire at 57 while those with five or more children can retire at 50, The Moscow Times reported.

In March, Putin said he wanted to halve poverty in Russia within the next six years.

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