LIVE UPDATES: President Vladimir Putin has signed a law raising the pension age for officials from 60 to 65 for men and from 55 to 63 for women.
Welcome to our column, Russia Update, where we will be closely following day-to-day developments in Russia, including the Russian government’s foreign and domestic policies.
The previous issue is here.
Recent Analysis and Translations:
– NATO Got Nothing From Conceding To Russia In the Past, Why Should It Cave To The Kremlin Now?
– Who is Hacking the Russian Opposition and State Media Officials — and How?
– Does it Matter if the Russian Opposition Stays United?
– Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov Has Invented A Version Of History To Meet His Needs
– Getting The News From Chechnya â The Crackdown On Free Press You May Have Missed
“I was walking along [the platform] at the Lubyanka [metro station] when I saw a portrait of Stalin glued on the wall. Since he is a criminal, I tore it down.”
Gandlevsky was taken away to a glass police booth inside the metro and told he would be jailed for “vandalism and petty hooliganism.” He said police were rude and used the “ty” [familiar] form of address in Russian.
Translation: Oohhh! At the Arbatskaya station, piece of plaster in the form of Crimea appeared and a mosaic with Stalin has been exposed.
As a prominent blogger Aleksandr Popov explained later, in fact the Stalin image was originally placed in the metro in a mosaic when it was built in the 1940s, but when the “cult of personality” was denounced by Nikita Khrushchev in 1956, officials plastered over Stalin’s portrait with a design. Then someone decided to cut the plaster out in the shape of Crimea to reveal Stalin’s face.
The management of the Moscow metro had no comment, said Moskovsky Komsomolets.
Then posters of Stalin appeared in the metro apparently related to preparations for the May 9th Victory Day celebration.
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick
Translation: I came home, the door to the apartment was broken, things were taken out, and “filth” written on the mirror.
Zotova’s husband Dadin was sentenced last year for protesting multiple times on behalf of anti-corruption campaigner Alexey Navalny, and his brother Oleg, not active in politics but punished in retribution for Alexey’s criticism of the regime.
His case as the first under a new law providing stiffer punishment for repeat offenders seemed to usher in an era of even greater penalties for opposition activism.
Peter Shrank made a cartoon circulated by activists showing the Kremlin tower throwing the shadow of a Gulag labor camp watchtower.
In an interview with Meduza, Zotova said she left home at 1:30 pm, then returned around 8 pm to get a laptop, only to find “a total pogrom” with all her things pulled out of drawers and closets and several tens of thousands of rubles missing.
But the deliberate trashing of her home, a five-story building on Smolensky Blvd, and the scrawl on the mirror in lipstick seemed to indicate it was a political attack, not an ordinary robbery.
Zotova has been actively campaigning for her husband, and against the criminal code article that enforces harsher penalties.
Translation: These leaflets for the freedom of Ildar will go this evening to the human rights conference in Oslo [the Freedom Forum].
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick
Kommersant reported that payment of pensions for government workers does not come out of the Pension Fund but the state budget. That does not mean that there will necessarily be a raise of pensions for all workers, although that measure is being discussed and is recommended by economist Aleksey Kudrin, recently brought back as a government adviser. Kommersant believes the raise of the bureaucrats’ pension age will prompt a broader discussion about raising the age for everyone.
According to RIA Novosti, however, which obtained materials related to the Ministry’s report this week, Economic Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev plans to propose raising the pension age for all Russians at a meeting of the Presidential Economic Council tomorrow, May 25. A document says that raising the pension age would be done “not only to balance the pension system” but to “prolong the period of productive life of future pensioners” and also “lower the deficit of labor resources on the market.”
This document also noted that Russia would lose 200,000 to 300,000 active workers per year unless they raised the pension age. The Ministry also admitted that it would be “impossible” for Russia to return to its one-time growth of 5-7% a year, even if oil returns to $50/barrel. (It’s now at about $48).
Olga Golodets, the vice premier for social and labor issues, had earlier said that media reports of a “deficit” in the pension fund were a “myth” and also denied that the government would be raising the pension age.
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has advised Russians to save for their own pensions.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, on a trip to Russian-occupied Crimea, told Crimean residents who complained about their small pensions that they would not be seeing indexes to inflation, Interfax reported.
In Russia, 68% of males live to reach pension age and 86% of females, says proforex.ru.