'Stop Torturing Pensioners': the State Duma Speaks Out Sharply Against the Head of the PFRF

'Stop Torturing Pensioners': the State Duma Speaks Out Sharply Against the Head of the PFRF

Photo: https://regnum.ru/


As the first move, people’s pension savings were frozen. Later, the retirement age was raised. Not long ago, the authorities made threats that fines would levied if any additional income was found. Meanwhile, pensioners are still kept in the conditions where they literally have to survive. In general, the promises given by the authorities to Russian pensioners can scarcely be called a goodwill gesture. They promised to index the pensions at a level above the official inflation with an average increase to monthly payments at around 1,000 rubles per year. In doing so, the federal government tried somehow to excuse itself in front of millions of Russian citizens for the antisocial pension reform -- as experts and many politicians called it -- upon the adoption of which the retirement age in Russia was raised by 5 years.

In any case, the authorities are managing to sugar-cover the bitter truth of pension reform increasingly poorly. Last year's indexation caused a serious public outrage, and only Russian President Vladimir Putin's interference made it possible to rectify the shortcomings in the methodology of calculating the supplementary pension. This year, the situation turned out to be even more comical and at the same time sad. Instead of the 1,000 rubles promised by the authorities, which federal officials keep bragging about for a month as the main “success” criterion of the "pension reform," residents of certain regions got an increase which, by their own admission, made them almost cry. For some Russians, the supplementary pension was -- all jokes aside -- as much as 1 ruble.

"As a result of another indexation, the size of old-age insurance pension for the vast majority of non-working Russian pensioners will increase by at least 1,000 rubles. That is, the average pension in Russia should be 16,500 rubles," said ministers, the head of government, representatives of the Pension Fund and “other officials”. The pension had been indexed and the first results of changes had already appeared, they claimed. As it turned out, though, the reality is typically far from what was promised. Thus, the story of a resident of the Kurgan region who published a post on social networks that his grand-mom got a supplement of 1 ruble 10 kopecks received wide publicity.

Of course, this state of things immediately triggered another wave of discontent in Russia. The experts were also critical of what had happened. So did the representatives of the so-called system opposition. For example, Sergey Mironov, the leader of A Just Russia parliamentary faction, calls what has happened little more than a pension fraud.

"In the Kurgan region, a local resident got an increase of 1 ruble to her pension,” said Mironov. “Moreover, in just a few days since the beginning of the year I've already received dozens of letters from people, who say their pensions have not changed at all. It can be connected only with the fact that the Pension Fund again started to quibble with the computations of pensions for those whose incomes are below subsistence level. If we remember the situation last year, millions of pensioners did not receive any increase at all. Only after the intervention of the State Duma this unjust situation was corrected."

More than that, Mironov went on to express his indignation with the current state of things. "Territorial departments of the Pension Fund keep up their manipulations,” Mironov said. “After all, even the official website of the Pension Fund clearly states that at first, pensions should be upgraded to the subsistence level, and only then indexed. And this is what the law says! That is why I have to address Anton Drozdov, the head of the Pension Fund of Russia. Normalize the indexation of people’s pensions at the local level. Stop torturing pensioners, making them run around and humiliate themselves for peanuts!"

It is noteworthy that a while back, the indexation of pensions was presented as one of its most important achievements. In practice, it turned out that the Russian government was throwing dust in the elderly people’s eyes again. However, this is only one side of the process of how the authorities are gradually and systematically shaking off their social obligations to support the same pensioners.

At first, people’s pension savings were frozen. Later, the retirement age was raised. Not long ago, fines were established in case any additional income was found. Meanwhile, pensioners are still kept in the conditions where they literally have to survive.