Thousands of Russians Protest Putin’s Plan to Raise Retirement Ages

For yet another weekend, thousands rallied across Russia on Saturday to protest the government’s plan to raise the eligibility age for retirement pensions by five years.

Several thousand people attended a Moscow rally organized by the Communist Party and other leftist groups, which was authorized by city officials. Communist Party chief Gennady Zyuganov called for rolling back the proposed changes, arguing that the government should redistribute resources to avoid raising the pension age.

“They keep reaching into your pockets,” he told protesters, who waved red flags.

The government’s plan to lift the retirement age for men from 60 years to 65 and for women from 55 to 63 has irked a wide range of Russians from all political factions. Older Russians fear they won’t live long enough to collect significant benefits while younger generations are worried that keeping people in the workforce longer will limit their own employment opportunities. The proposal has also dented President Vladimir Putin’s popularity.

Dmitry Orlov, who came to Moscow from his home city of Kostroma to join the rally, denounced the Russian government’s move as a “robbery.”

“It can’t be that our country doesn’t have money for its people, the people who spend their whole lives working and paying deductions for their pensions,” he said.

Similar protests were also held Saturday in many cities across Russia’s 11 time zones, most of them sanctioned by authorities.

Several hundred demonstrators rallied against the pension age hike in Sevastopol in Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

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Source: USA Today