Staunton, June 14 – In the latest confirmation of Captain Aleksandr Nikitin’s fundamental insight that “there are no ex-KGB officers just as there are no ex-German shepherds,” Vladimir Putin, according to Yekaterinburg political commentator Aleksey Shaburov, has arranged the boost in the Russian retirement age like a special op.
Shaburov, who writes for the Politsoviet portal, makes five points in support of his contention (politsovet.ru/59275-povyshenie-pensionnogo-vozrasta-kak-specoperaciya.html):
First, it is obvious that the government has been working on this reform for some time; and “in any other democratic country, such an issue would have become the main theme of the presidential elections, but in Russia this didn’t happen.” Putin didn’t mention it and even maintained that he opposed a boost in the retirement age.
“Certainly,” Shaburov says, “if Putin had gone to the voters with the slogan ‘I will raise the pension age and taxes,’ the result of the voting in March would have been somewhat different.”
Second, the taboo on any discussion of this issue meant that the draft legislation was prepared in anything but a transparent way. There have been in fact “no public discussions” at all. And as a result, many questions arise: why the ages of 65 and 63 were selected? Why is the reform to be phased in until 2013? And on and one.
But “the government still has not offered any information about this. Even if it does, this will be only a justification for a decision already taken rather than part of the development of this decision in open dialogue with society.”
Third, only a week ago, Putin was asked about retirement ages during his “direct line;” and although “it is obvious that Putin knew that a week later the government would propose raising the pension age, he didn’t mention anything about that,” either to shift responsibility or to maintain his own popularity rating by keeping his distance from unpopular decisions.
Fourth, the government chose to announce the new law on the day of the start of the World Cup and Russia’s first match. It clearly hoped that “because of football, Russians wouldn’t discuss so much the pension issue” – yet another indication that the regime has no plans to discuss this with the population.
And fifth, Shaburov continues, the dramatic proposed increase in retirement age for women, eight years, likely means that the government is intentionally arranging things so that it can back down to what it really wants and convince the population that it has responded to their wishes.