Staunton, July 28 – From Soviet times onward, Moscow has defined young people as those aged between 14 and 30, a category that is used for the distribution of benefits and involvement in various national projects and propaganda efforts. Now, the Duma is considering a measure that would raise the upper age limit to 35. Debate on this is likely to be lively.
According to psychiatrist Vyacheslav Tarasov, 30 is “a survival of the Soviet past,” although he notes that earlier, the communist authorities put the upper age limit for young people even lower at 28. That reflected both the Octobrist-Komsomol-CPSU limits while the lower level had to do with right to work and criminal responsibility (lenta.ru/articles/2020/07/28/youth/).
Now, given social and economic changes, the limits should be changed, but it isn’t clear that the upper age limit should be raised, the doctor continues. In his view, it should be lowered to 22, the normal age at which Russians complete their university educations. But he says that he understands the pressure to raise it.
On the one hand, the World Health Organization extends youth to 44; and on the other, the Russian government has many programs for housing, education, and entrepreneurship which should be available to those aged 30 to 35 but who are now excluded because the law at present says they are too old.
Because changing this criterion will affect so many government programs, debate in the Duma may be especially intense as various bureaucracies weigh about the budgetary and policy consequences of what may seem to many as a simple bureaucratic or even completely propagandist move.