Saturday, June 26, 2021

Number of Russian Pensioners Declines by Record Number, Saving Moscow Billions

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 22 – Between the beginning of 2019 and April 2021, the number of Russian pensioners fell by 1,276,000, the largest decline since Rosstat began recording this statistic in 1998 and one that has reduced Moscow’s pension costs by 240 billion rubles (3.4 billion US dollars) already

            Some of that decline reflects increased deaths among the elderly as a result of the pandemic, Olga Aleksandrova of the Federal Sociological Research Institute says; but many of these deaths were avoidable and occurred only because of the cutbacks in medical care Moscow has been pursuing under Putin’s “optimization” program (

            But most of them have other sources: the boosting of the pension age in 2019, the inadequacy of pensions which mean many Russians continue to work, and the failure of Russians to claim pensions due them, something that is also the result of government policies which do not adequately inform people of their rights (

            According to experts cited by Anatoly Komrakov of Nezavisimaya gazeta, the declining number of pensioners and of pensions paid must not be blamed on the pandemic. It reflects a conscious Russian government policy to overcome existing deficits in the pension fund and save the government money to spend elsewhere (

            Natalnya Nenasheva of the Topline benefits research company notes that “if the number of pensioners is reduced by 500,000, the government begins to save on social spending a minimum of 100 billion rubles (1.3 billion US dollars) a year. This is a lot. For example, in the pandemic year, the government allocated about 500 billion rubles (seven billion US dollars) to business.”

            But the latter figure and the savings from pension cutbacks are different in their ultimate impact. The spending on business during the pandemic is a one-time thing, but savings from pension reductions are permanent.” Unfortunately, no one in Russia’s anything but competitive political system is raising questions about what this means and what must be done.

            As a result, the standard of living among elderly Russians will continue to decline, pushing their numbers down further and saving the government money, precisely what those in charge of the regime want but hardly what the aging Russian population deserves.

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