"As a result, the Russians might be thrown into a dilemma,” Alimova said. “Chances are they will have to choose either to put money away for retirement on their own, or to rely on their children to help them in advanced years. Moreover, proposals of this kind are regularly made by various officials.”
The pension reform that was adopted with a great scandal in 2018 and evoked aversion among the Russians, became a kind of stumbling block and the first step towards destruction of the so-called social contract between people and the state. Since then the popularity rating of the authorities have been falling, and criticism of the federal center has only been growing. Along with this, even the resignation of the cabinet of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, one of the main ideologists and proponents of the idea of raising the retirement age in Russia, did not help reduce tensions.
Two years passed after the reform which experts and residents called "anti-social." However, the situation of the perception of changes in the Russian pension system has only worsened. In 2019 and 2020, experts repeatedly pointed out the faults of the pension reform. Residents keep complaining that on the background of growing retirement age, which many people perceive as a "stick," there was no "carrot” promised by officials. They expected that in this case, the state would be able to rather quickly provide a normal standard of living for existing pensioners. The age for retirement continues to increase while the incomes of Russian pensioners keep falling. So, the fact that calls for revoking of the pension reform are still being heard can hardly be surprising.
"Retirement age Might Continue to Increase Until Pensions are Abolished Completely"
It is also alarming that against the background of the ongoing reform, experts have begun to voice opinions that might be much worse for the Russians. Many of them say that the absence of the expected economic effect as well as the remaining budget deficit of the Pension Fund are likely to force the federal center to take new "antisocial" measures that include the next increase in the retirement age. There were even suggestions that in the future the state might try to completely drop all social obligations to the elderly and abolish pensions in principle.
Most of all, it is alarming that not only experts, economists, political scientists, and ordinary people, but officials themselves have begun to make such forecasts recently. For example, assumptions of this kind are often expressed even in the State Duma.
For instance, not so long ago, one of them was voiced by Olga Alimova, a deputy of the State Duma representing the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF.) She was asked by reporters to comment on the discussion that occurred in the State Duma around the parameters of the pension system needed in Russia. Alimova started talking about a new increase in the retirement age and the possible abolishment of pension payments.
"Chances are under the incumbent government in Russia, no revolutionary changes in the current pension system will help save people’s money,” said Alimova. “None of the systems for calculating pensions and payments that are used in other states are likely to be effective in our country as long as corruption is the main issue in Russia, no matter how much they try to brag about them. To my thinking, the Russian authorities might continue to increase the retirement age. In doing so, they will seek to get more workforce and reduce the number of pensioners receiving payments. Then the authorities are likely to withdraw pensions at all. Apparently, people who work now have no prospects of getting any pensions. As a result, the Russians might be thrown into a dilemma. Chances are they will have to choose either to put money away for retirement on their own, or to rely on their children to help them in advanced years. Moreover, proposals of this kind are regularly made by various officials.”