Staunton, May 12 – As debates swirl about increasing the age at which Russians can begin receiving a pension, the Russian Pension Fund says that there are currently 37 Russian pensioners over the age of 110, that they are mostly in the North Caucasus republics, and that the very oldest is a Chechen woman who says she is 128 (ura.news/news/1052334477).
The North Caucasus is noted as a demographic anomaly with far more children per woman than any other region of the Russian Federation and with more people living to an advanced age, but it is also noted as a place where falsification of all kinds of data is the norm especially if it allows people to make money or to please the authorities.
One Russian portal suggests as much in its reaction to the Pension Fund claims. It features a tongue-in-cheek report today that “The Very Oldest Pensioner of Russia is from Daghestan and is now 250 Years Old” (panorama.pub/3479-samomu-staromu-pensioneru-rossii-iz-dagestana-250-let.html).
Guzel Rakhmetovna was born on March 11, 1768, the news agency says. She worked for 175 years and has won the Hero Mother award for giving birth to 33 children, the most recent of which was born last year. And because of her achievements, she currently receives a monthly pension of 785,000 rubles (13,000 US dollars).
Zaurbek Mirzoyev, head of the Pension Fund office in Makhachkala, says that “honestly speaking, we have never seen Guzel Rakhmetovan, but on the other hand, we’ve heard a lot about her. I’d like to visit this outstanding woman personally, but she lives in the mountains of Daghestan in an aul not connected to the outside world by any road.”
Her village does not have a bank or ATM, Mirzoyev continues. Consequently, her pension has to be paid in cash. And “it is a consequently, it is a good thing that Guzel Rakhmetova has such concerned sons and grandsons. Sometimes 10 to 20 of them show up to collect her pension all at once.”
The official added that “in Russia today live more than 150 pensioners aged 150 to 200 years, the majority of them in the Caucasus.” But Daghestan’s Rakkhmetova is the oldest of all and hence a source of real pride in her republic.