Accessibility links

Breaking News

Thousands Protest Pension Reform in Russia


Russian Communist party supporters carry a banner reading "55 - and no minute more" as they take part in a rally against the government's proposed reform hiking the pension age in Moscow, Sept. 2, 2018.

Thousands of Russians have taken to the streets to protest a government plan to raise the age for receiving state pensions, despite concessions made by President Vladimir Putin to soften the measure.

Several thousand rallied in Moscow and other demonstrations were reported in at least a dozen cities across Russia, including St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk in Siberia, and the Far Eastern port city of Vladivostok.

There were no immediate reports of arrests at the rallies, which had received official sanction.

The plan, originally introduced in June, called for raising the retirement age for women from 55 to 63 and for men from 60 to 65.

But after widespread criticism, Putin went on national television Wednesday to say that retirement age for women would only be raised to 60 and the proposed change for men would remain the same but would be implemented over five years.

Opposition to the proposed reform has attracted opposition from a wide range of age groups and political beliefs.

Young Russian say keeping older workers on the job longer will reduce opportunities for them, while older Russians point to the country's low life expectancy rates and fear they may not live long enough to collect their benefits.

The average life expectancy of a Russian male is 66 years and for women, 77, according to the World Health Organization.

Sunday's largest rally in Moscow was organized by the Communist Party, while anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny has called on his followers – young urbanites – to demonstrate on Sept. 9.

The plan has also affected Putin's approval ratings. A weekly poll by the Fund for Public Opinion found 61 percent saying they fully or mostly trusted Putin in mid-August, down from 75 percent just before the pension reform proposal.