Putin Says He Doesn’t Like Pension Overhaul Plan

Russian president voices doubt about controversial proposal to raise retirement ages.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has broken his silence on the changes to the retirement ages that passed Thursday in the State Duma, the country’s lower house: He doesn’t like the plan.

The proposed reforms bump the retirement ages from 60 to 65 for men, and from 55 to 63 for women. Kremlin-friendly political parties, members of parliament, and the general public have protested these alterations, plummeting Putin’s approval rating from 78% to 64% in about two weeks.

The president has been noticeably quiet about this move until Friday, when he said, “There is no final decision,” on the pension changes, Reuters reports. “I will need to hear all opinions and points of view on this issue.”

At a soccer game in Kaliningrad during the World Cup, he said that a pension reform was necessary as the country’s finances are thinning, according to the news agency.

He did, however, admit that he did not like any of the reforms, which passed in the first of three readings.

“I like none of the ones linked to raising the [retirement] age,” he said Friday on local television.  “And I can assure you that in the government too, there are few people, if any at all, who like them either.”

While Russia’s president reiterated that a pension overhaul was inevitable, he said there was a small window where no changes could be made, but if the issue wasn’t dealt with sooner rather than later, it could lead to big problems for the Kremlin.

“Broadly speaking, you could do nothing for five, six, or even 10 years. We are able to maintain the pension system,” he said. “But what will happen in the medium, and longer-term? Then either the pension system will collapse, or the budget from which we finance the [pension] deficit will collapse.”

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