Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Other Victims of Putin’s Pension Reform – Russia’s Youngest Children

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 17 – No one questions that millions of older Russians will be the victims of the Kremlin’s plan to raise the retirement age. Many will not live to get a pension, and those that do will be suffering from far poorer health than their Western counterparts, making Moscow’s move especially indefensible (

            But there is another group of Russians who are going to suffer too and as a result, the country’s social and demographic futures will be further compromised: the very youngest Russians who are often raised by grandmothers who look after them while their parents work in the absence of adequate day care arrangements.

            Russian blogger Anna Nesterova calls attention to this, arguing that the proposed pension reforms represent a direct attack “on the institution of ‘grandmothers’” and their role in raising the rising generation (

                “It is no secret,” she writes, “that most young families can’t afford a nanny or a private kindergarten, and many do not send their children to [public] kindergartens either because of their state of health or because they want their children raised at home.” But even those children who do go to public kindergartens will now be left alone at the beginning and end of the day.

            “Historically, grandmothers and grandfathers have looked after the home pre-school education” of the youngest children.  That worked fine with the current retirement ages, but if they are pushed up, many grandparents will be too old to help with their grandchildren when they retire even if they live that long, Nesterova points out.

            Consequently, “raising the retirement age will lead to a reduction in the level of the development of children who will be deprived of their time with the older generation.” And that will have another consequence parents should think about: it opens the way for greater manipulation of the young by the state regardless of what their parents want.

            There aren’t enough public kindergartens now, and if the pension proposal goes through, the blogger continues, many young children will be left to their own devices day after day. Some will undoubtedly turn in the wrong direction; and yet that appears to be among the many thinks those behind this idea have never thought about.

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