Staunton, July 9 – As people age, a greater share of them suffer from health problems, although the exact percentage who do varies over time and among countries. Today in Russia a majority of those who take the pensions do so because of problems with their health. If the retirement age is raised, the percentage of those ill at that time will increase.
Indeed, the stress of the additional years of work will likely mean those at any particular age above the new retirement ages will be higher than it would be otherwise and the mortality rates will be higher as well. Thus, it is not absurd to say that what the Russian government wants to do will literally kill some Russians and push down life expectancy in the country.
Those are the unpleasant but self-evident conclusions from data gathered by the Levada Center as presented by the Doctor Piter portal under the title “Russians take pensions mostly as a result of problems with their health” (doctorpiter.ru/articles/19872/).
At the present time, the pollsters found, “half of Rusisans stop working immediately after reaching pension age, that is 60 for men and 55 for men. The majority of them stop working because of problems with their health and tiredness. Only a quarter of those polls continue to work after going on pension.”
Thus, it is no surprise that Russians overwhelmingly oppose plans to raise the pension age and consider the current retirement standards to be the optimal ones. Were their health better at these ages as it is in many advanced Western countries where people talk about those in the 60s as being “the new 40s,” the situation would be very different.
But the health of Russians is not at their levels: it is much worse, the result of inadequate diet, excessive consumption of alcohol, rising obesity levels, and health care that is increasingly inaccessible either because of price or because Vladimir Putin’s health “optimization” program has shuttered medical facilities.
Those who do go on retirement will have even less money available for medical care. At present, the average pension in Russia is just over 14,000 rubles (230 US dollars) a month, far below the 26,000 rubles (480 US dollars) a month that Russian experts say is needed for a minimally acceptable standard of living.
If the retirement age is raised as the Kremlin wants – and it is showing no sign of backing down in the face of public protest (newsland.com/community/5652/content/pensionnaia-reforma-smiagchena-ne-budet-putin-nazad-ne-khodit/6403443) – ever more Russians will have to give up medical care in order to pay for housing or even buy food.
All too many commentaries especially in the West have treated the Russian government’s plans as somehow economically necessary and failed to point out that this latest Putin “reform” will really kill people – and that those who are protesting against it are not just defending their self-interest: they are defending their lives.