Kazan allowed to protest against raising the retirement age — but from afar

''It was wrong to begin with a punch in the stomach'': retirement age becomes main issue in political agenda

Kazan allowed to protest against raising the retirement age — but from afar Photo: Maksim Platonov

The Kazan City Executive Committee agreed on two protest meetings against raising the retirement age due to appeals from the regional offices of A Just Russia and Communist Party, despite the restrictions imposed on public events during the 2018 World Cup. The citizens are seriously going to take to the streets for single-person pickets. Realnoe Vremya found out who, where and when will protest, what it can lead to, and also expert opinions on the reform.

''Let them fine, I don't care!''

Passions around the pension reform plan announced by the government a week ago are running high even against the background of the 2018 World Cup. The indignation of those who are going to retire soon under the current law is running even higher.

WhatsApp groups have recently begun to spread the message: ''Next weekend — everyone is invited to Victory Park for a single picket against the pension reform, we will stand in turn.'' The enthusiasm of the initiators was not frozen even by the warnings of legally advanced chat participants about administrative responsibility for rallies during the World Cup.

''Let them fine, I don't care. I will lose more if we won't beat off from this reform,'' Irina R. declared to the correspondent of Realnoe Vremya. ''My pension can be postponed for six years — on how many penalties it would be enough?..''

The first rally takes place on 30 June in Yudino. Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

It is not allowed to gather of more than 150 people

As the press-service of the city executive committee informed Realnoe Vremya, two protest meetings have been coordinated. The first one will take place on 30 June in Yudino in front of Railwaymen House of Culture organized by A Just Russia. The event starts at 10 a.m. The second — on July 1, organized by the Communist Party, also at ten in the morning.

The executive committee of Kazan has not received notifications on holding pickets. As for the calls in social networks to participate in single rallies in Victory Park, it seems, they idea came from Naberezhnye Chelny. There, on June 22 in the park of the same name the Communist Party of Russia holds an action devoted to day of memory of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. The protest, as follows from the announcement on the official website of the party, is going to be multi-aspect: ''Against raising the retirement age, gasoline prices, taxes.''

The Executive Committee of Naberezhnye Chelny did not refuse the organizers of the meeting with the requirement of resignation of the Russian government, prevention of raising the retirement age and VAT rate, but they offered to hold this event on 1 July in the village of ZYAB from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. On the Boulevard of Enthusiasts, where the organizers planned to gather 500 people for the meeting, according to officials, ''another event'' is planned at the time stated by the organizers of the protest meeting.

The Kazan City Executive Committee reminds that for uncoordinated protests in Kazan in the days of the World Cup the violators will be issued protocols on part 1 of the article No. 20.2 of the administrative code of Russia. The punishment under this article for violation of the established procedure of organization or holding of a picket ranges from administrative fine from 10,000 to 20,000 rubles for individuals, up to 100,000 rubles for legal entities, but what exactly it will be in each case — court will decide.

The expert believes that raising the retirement age is inevitable. The question is how to raise it. Photo: tabakh.ru

Experts forecast: ''the decision'' will be corrected

''I think that the decision will be taken, but it will be corrected,'' chief economist at Expert RA Anton Tabakh answered the question of Realnoe Vremya whether people's protests will have action. ''The scale and depth of amendments will depend on the intensity of public protests. In the coming years, this reform will cover about ten million people. Probably, instead of starting with a punch in the stomach and then saying: ''And now we will do everything systematically'', they should first see how it was done in other countries… There is a feeling that not the very increase in the retirement age cause questions, but the fact that the system remains extremely rigid and there are too many beneficiaries. Why people who does not deserve it can retire at age 40, while others will retire aged 65?''

Other experts are in solidarity with Tabakh. For example, in the report Pension Breakthrough. The first results published by Peterburgskaya Politika fund, with a 40 percent probability it is predicted ''a compromise on the initiative of the government''.

Meanwhile, critics of the hard scenario offer their options for pension reform.

Representatives of A Fair Russia will take to the streets with the requirement not to increase the retirement age at all. Realnoe Vremya was informed about this by chairman of the regional branch Rushaniya Bilgildeeva, who explained that with the current level of health and life expectancy of men the increase of the retirement age for them means the deprivation of pension:

''A woman came to us the other day. Her husband retired and lived for one day after retirement! And so many men will die at work… and where to find a job for people over fifty, if now women over 45 cannot find it?

In addition, Bilgildeeva says, the government's proposed pension reform will impact on demography:

''Many women, when retiring, help children to raise grandchildren. If they work, then there will be no one to sit with children. And you know what is the situation with nursery in Tatarstan. Many families will simply not risk giving birth! It is necessary to impose a ban on raising the retirement age until 2030 and, at the same time, to introduce a progressive scale of income tax. It is necessary to cancel the tax benefits for VAT return for exporters of raw materials. And it is necessary to adopt a law on insurance pensions, which would provide for the dependence of pension on the length of insurance and wages.''

Communist Party predictably proposes to introduce a progressive scale of taxation and to use ''resources'' associated with the export of raw materials. Photo: Andrey Danilov / gossov.tatarstan.ru

The Communist Party predictably proposes to introduce a progressive scale of taxation and to use the ''resources'' associated with the export of raw materials. Member of the Communist Party in the State Council of Tatarstan Artem Prokofiev told Realnoe Vremya:

''In any developed country, the rich and the poor do not pay the same taxes. And Russia sells raw materials on the world market at prices below market ones, and then intermediaries make money on this — it is unfair and irrational…''

By Inna Serova
Tatarstan