In Russia, a Dilemma for the Ages

Jul 12, 2018 | 09:15 GMT

This photo shows protesters rallying against the Russian government's proposal to raise the country's official retirement age.

Supporters of the Russian Communist Party hold red flags and a poster reading "No pension reform!" at a rally against the pension reform in the Russian Federation in central Simferopol on July 7, 2018.

(STR/AFP/Getty Images)


  • A long-expected but politically controversial plan to raise the retirement age in Russia could be President Vladimir Putin's biggest challenge in his fourth term.
  • The reform has spurred protests across Russia, and demonstrations could grow in size and scope once the World Cup tournament ends and host cities lift their moratoriums on public protests.
  • The government will probably modify the parameters of the reform in the event of protracted protests and public discontent, but Putin will have to balance any concessions against Russia's broader economic challenges.

While the World Cup soccer tournament has drawn the world's attention to Russia, an issue that will affect millions of its citizens has been unfolding at the same time, albeit with less fanfare. For the past month, one of the most sensitive and politically charged matters in the country has been a plan to increase the retirement age. The details of the proposal were announced June 14 by Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, and the draft plan stipulates increasing the retirement age in stages beginning in 2019. For men, the age would rise from the current number of 60 to 65 by 2028. For women, it would rise from the current 55 to 63 by 2034....

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