Staunton, July 14 – Andrey Pudov, Russia’s deputy labor ministry, says his agency would like to introduce special preferences for Russians over the age of 60 who seek employment so that they will be hired before any immigrants are, a policy made possible by pension reforms that he says will reduce the country’s reliance on imported labor (interfax.ru/russia/620762).
Svetlana Gomzikova of Svobodnaya pressa says that one can only imagine “how much joy [this latest government effort to justify raising the retirement age] will bring to our pensions” who are now being asked to contribute to the fight against illegal immigration as well as saving the government money (svpressa.ru/society/article/205233/).
But Pudov’s proposal is absurd on its face: There are ten million immigrant workers in Russia, most of whom are young, unskilled and poorly paid. Few older Russians with more skills are going to want to take their place, and even fewer businesses are going to want to pay more to people with less physical strength to do their work.
Andrey Gudkov, an independent analyst on social policy, agrees. He tells Gomzikova that “when an individual aged 60” seeks to occupy the job of a younger and more poorly paid gastarbeiter, he will be rejected by any business – and for entirely justifiable reasons: The older Russian can do less and will demand higher pay than the immigrant.
The Russian government can talk all it wants about fighting “age discrimination,” he continues; “but the authorities will not conduct any struggle” against it because that would threaten the interests of businessmen. Russians can see this themselves, Gudkov suggests, and so they will reject this latest justification of raising retirement ages.
Russians will also see, he suggests, that “instead of achieving economic growth” from such actions, “we will [only] achieve an increase in unemployment. As a result, “people will go on pension by getting themselves classed as invalids, increasingly become involved in illegal activity, and so on.”
And that, Gudkov concludes, “will lead to a situation in which the state of the social security system will get worse rather than better,” something Russians can also see on their own whatever regime propagandists say.
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