Russian Communists move to block Putin’s plan to raise retirement age
-From Morning Star
An elderly woman holds a poster reading “Want to Retire, it’s time to change the authority!” during a rally protesting retirement age hikes in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, July 28. Tens of thousands of demonstrators have rallied throughout Russia to protest plans to substantially hike the age at which Russian men and women can receive their state retirement pensions. | AP
The Communist Party of the Russian Federation is pursuing a federal referendum on unpopular government plans to raise the pension age.
The ruling United Russia party plans to raise the retirement age to 65 for men and 63 for women, but opponents of the plans have pointed out that male life expectancy is only 66 in Russia and in some areas even lower.
Polls show nine in 10 Russians are opposed to the change.
Russia’s constitution allows for federal referendums if organizers can gather two million signatures from a minimum of 42 regions, with a maximum of 50,000 signatures from any one region.
Following the Central Election Commission’s recognition that the Communists in Altai region had hit their target, other groups including A Just Russia have jumped on the bandwagon and started gathering signatures for a referendum on their terms.
Communists in Kurgan region said today that “the outrage of the people is growing” over the pension age rise. They have held three meetings and dozens of pickets as part of the mammoth signature-gathering operation.
But a communist at a protest in Pskov, who gave her name only as Natalya, told reporters she was skeptical a referendum would be allowed, saying: “The people’s opinions don’t matter to the authorities.”
The ITUC-affiliated All-Russian Confederation of Labor president Boris Kravchenko has also expressed doubts.
“The process of conducting a referendum is such that it has not been possible for even major political powers to hold one,” he observed.
“It is like the process for conducting a strike—in principle, we have that right and there is a procedure, but in reality it is impossible to hold one legally.”
August 14, 2018, By Morning Star