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Why pensions, not poisonings, define Vladimir Putin’s Russia

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IT is the issue that gives us real insight in to the rule of Vladimir Putin. And it has nothing to do with his adventures in Syria, cyberattacks or even the Salisbury poisonings.Earlier this month the Russian president signed in to law reforms that will raise the retirement age from 60 to 65 for men and 55 to 60 for women. Pension changes – originally announced in a June bill – have already brought thousands out onto the streets. Amendments to the bill failed to prevent further protests across the country on September 9, the day of regional elections. Mr Putin set out the reasons for his policy earlier this year when he revealed ambitious and expensive development goals for the country; envisioning an economic transformation touching innovation, digitalisation, education, healthcare and housing. Money from the state budget – the kitty helping to pay for these improvements – is being increasingly used to correct the growing pension fund deficit. The government forecasts that by 2044 pensioners could equal the number of those in work. Reform isn’t surprising. .

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