Russians rally against pension plan
MOSCOW — Russians held rallies throughout the country Sunday to protest a government plan to raise the age for receiving state pensions.
Several thousand people gathered in central Moscow for a protest organized by the Communist Party.
Other demonstrations were reported in at least a dozen cities throughout the country including Vladivostok in the Far East, Simferopol in Russia-annexed Crimea and Omsk, Barnaul and Novosibirsk in Siberia.
No arrests were immediately reported. The rallies had official sanction.
The plan was introduced in June and has passed first-reading in the lower house of parliament. But widespread opposition has persisted and President Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings in polls have fallen notably since the plan was announced.
In an unusual televised address to the nation, Putin last week conceded that the pension age for women will be raised only to 60 rather than the proposed 63. The current pension age for women is 55.
The plan would retain the raising of the men’s pension age from 60 to 65, implementing the steps up over five years.
The plan has attracted opposition from a notably wide spectrum of age groups and political beliefs. Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption activist and Putin foe who has built his movement on relatively young and well-educated urbanites, has called for his supporters to rally nationwide
“The reform that the government offers deprives our women of a normal pension. This reform doesn’t give our youth the chance to get a good job,” Communist Party head Gennady Zyuganov said at the Moscow rally.