Russian Pensioners’ Poverty is Embodied in Constitution

Russian Pensioners’ Poverty is Embodied in Constitution


Apparently, the Russians have not realized yet what amendments to the Constitution they voted for last summer. However, as soon as these changes become reality, people will understand them.

Thus, if the entire political component, the area of interest of the so-called liberals and the opposition, is not taken into account, it will become obvious that many of the amendments are related to the social sector. In other words, allegedly, they were aimed at protecting the Russians. So, let us figure out how this “protection” will work proceeding from the updated Constitution.

A few days ago, already published the opinion of Mikhail Khazin, an economist, a publicist and a radio presenter, on the State Duma's decision on the yet another extension of freezing of the funded part of people’s pensions.

On October 26, Boris Vishnevsky, a deputy of St. Petersburg Legislative assembly, shared his opinion on this issue on his Facebook account. According to him, the Russian authorities in general and Vladimir Putin in particular deceived the residents with the annual indexation of pensions, and this deception was fixed exactly in the Constitution.

“What is written in the Constitution now?” said Boris Vishnevsky. “Pensions will be indexed at least once a year in accordance with the procedure specified by the federal law.” “Specified by the federal law” are the key words here. This law has existed for a long time. Namely, “On labor pensions in the Russian Federation.” It even includes a provision for annual indexation. According to the Article 17, the indexation ratio, i.e., how much the pension will grow, is DETERMIINED BY THE GOVERNMENT. Moreover, the authorities have always determined this ratio, and it will continue to do so “on the basis of the level of prices’ growth rate for the relevant period.” However, “on the basis of the prices’ growth rate” does not mean “not less than the prices’ growth rate.” In other words, the government is not obliged to index pensions at the same rate as the price rise.”

According to Vishnevsky, the government might determine the indexation of pensions randomly, based on its own considerations. It might establish the indexation ratio equal to ZERO. After all, it will formally contradict neither the law nor the Constitution.

Vishnevsky also mentioned a yet another pension freezing. To his thinking, the six-year “freezing” is necessary to plug holes in the Pension Fund's budget caused by Crimea's accession, sanctions and the economic crisis.

“Over the years, hundreds of thousands of rubles were not transferred to people’s “savings” accounts. Among other things, the future pension will be paid from them. It happened “thanks” to Putin as well,” writes Vishnevsky.

Meanwhile, Sergei Leonov, a member of the Committee for Social Policy at the Federation Council upper house of parliament, believes that the funded part of the pension might be completely abolished.

“Of course, people’s reaction is negative,” the National News Service cited Leonov's words on October 22. “They consider the funds of the funded part of the pension their own and expect to see them on their accounts, and not in the budget of the Pension Fund, for example. That is why there are more and more calls to give out this money and to stop messing with people's heads. In my opinion, this situation is very likely.

Moreover, chances are not only the funded part of pension will be abolished but also the pensions as such. This might be done on quite legal grounds.

Thus, for example, there is Paragraph 3 of Article 38 in the “upgraded” Constitution of the Russian Federation. According to it, “able-bodied children who have reached the age of 18 are to take care of incapacitated parents.”

At first glance, there is nothing reprehensible in this paragraph. However, as the military say: “it provides wide opportunities for further upgrading.” Taking care of parents is a generally accepted duty that does not contradict any moral norms, and, if you’ll pardon this cynical remark, it is not a legal thing. In any case, not like this one that was added as a separate paragraph in the Constitution for some reason. If this paragraph has written, it’s for a reason. And what exactly for? For example, in order to completely abolish the pension system if it becomes very difficult to maintain it, on the grounds that only children have to support their parents but not the state. If suddenly people are outraged by the abolition of pensions, they will be reminded that this regulation is entered in the Constitution for which these very people voted so enthusiastically.

Do you think that it is nonsense? Not at all. Similar remarks in one form or another were submitted by both deputies of different levels and officials at different times. However, the deputies still pass laws that the Russians have to abide by. And not only the deputies.

Last year, Maxim Oreshkin, then minister of economic development, made a statement on the Chinese experience with non-dependence of the pension system on the economic power of the state. Since he recalled the Chinese experience when talking about possible ways of developing Russia, many people understood his statement as readiness to abolish the existing pension plan in Russia.

It should be recalled that since the beginning of 2020, Maxim Oreshkin is the Aide to Vladimir Putin.

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