The lower house of the Russian Parliament, the Duma, adopted reforms suggested by President Vladimir Putin to soften the pension age hike initially announced over the summer.
That announcement, made in a rather clandestine way June 14th, 2018 during the opening of the FIFA 2018 World Cup, was received rather cynically and with anger by many in Russia, both for the actual meat of the proposal (to raise the retirement age from 60 to 65 years of age for men, and from 55 to 63 years of age for women), and the fact that this idea was announced while the nation was largely distracted by the World Cup.
There is no real way that this proposal would be popular, especially because the President promised in 2005 to never raise the pension age while he was in office. This year, he broke this promise, though the reasons are evident.
However, the President suggested some changes that were adopted almost unanimously in the second and third readings of the bill by the Duma, as TASS reports:
The State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, has adopted the bill on pension reform in the third and final reading.
The government submitted the bill to the State Duma in June. By the second reading the bill was adjusted in compliance with the amendments proposed by President Vladimir Putin.In particular Putin suggested that the age of retirement should be set at 60 for women, not 63, as the Cabinet originally proposed. For men, the retirement age is set at 65 years. The amendments reduce by three years the length of service that gives the right to early retirement: for men it was reduced to 42 from 45 years as it was originally planned, for women it was reduced to 37 from 40 years.
The law also secures the right to early retirement for mothers with many children. For families with many children the law keeps the existing norms for obtaining a funded pension: this pension will be paid to women when they turn 55 and to men when they turn 60.
Currently, the retirement age for men and women in Russia is 60 and 55 years respectively.
Earlier in his televised address to the nation Putin also he thought it necessary to double the unemployment benefit for pre-retirement age individuals [starting in] 2019, to introduce preferential retirement in the age [range] of 50-57 for mothers with many children and keep land tax and real property tax benefits for citizens at the level of the current retirement age. Putin also pointed to the necessity of introducing employer’s liability for unjustified dismissal or refusal to employ pre-retirement age individuals.
The State Duma adopted the draft law in its first reading on July 19. Then, the initiative was supported only by representatives of the constitutional majority. All opposition factions (Communist Party, Liberal Democrats and Just Russia) opposed the draft law.
On August 29, in a TV address to citizens, Putin announced a number of provisions aimed to soften the initial bill.
On September 6, the President introduced his amendments to the government’s pension bill, along with changes to the Tax and Criminal Code to the State Duma.
On September 25, the State Duma adopted another initiative of the President – the law which imposes a fine up to 200,000 rubles ($2,900) for refusal to hire soon-to-retire individuals or their unjustified dismissal.
On Wednesday, September 26, the State Duma considered the main bill on pension reform in the second reading. The president’s amendments were supported by all factions of the State Duma, including the Communist Party, which admitted that these amendments improved the government version of the text. 326 lawmakers voted for the bill, 59 voted against, one lawmaker abstained.