Posted 24 сентября 2021, 06:54
Published 24 сентября 2021, 06:54
Modified 25 декабря 2022, 20:55
Updated 25 декабря 2022, 20:55
Vladislav Inozemtsev, economist, social scientist
How do you know if Russia is living on the eve of the elections, or the electoral cycle has just ended? For an economist, this is a very simple question: it is enough to assess the rhetoric of the authorities regarding pensions and pensioners (there are more than 42.3 million of them in the country today, and they make up a significant proportion of voters). Before the elections, the government promises them "mountains of gold", and after - brutally "throws" them. In 2018, Putin's re-election for a new presidential term turned into an increase in the retirement age, in 2021 the elections were not so fateful, so the scale of disappointment is less, but still.
In August, the authorities unexpectedly decided to give each pensioner 10 thousand rubles, which for the first time since 2017 will provide an increase in the income of senior citizens (in 2017 this also happened due to a one-time surcharge - only 5 thousand rubles). On this, as reported in the government, they spent 450 billion rubles. But the elections passed and the tone changed. Today we received a message that the government considers it inexpedient to index pensions for working pensioners (indexation, I note, has been provided for by the Constitution since last year, and it does not distinguish between working and non-working old people). And on the eve of the Deputy Chairman of the Bank of Russia said that "helping pensioners... a little late", and it is better to think about introducing a new pension system for citizens of working age.
To be honest, all this cynicism is amazing (besides, recently Russian "experts" have begun to actively prove that ... the Russian pension system meets international standards, and pensioners receive almost more than they should expect). With a replacement rate of about 34% and dying old people (just recently statistics were released on a decrease in the number of pensioners in the country over the past 12 months by 1.2 million people), trying to assert this is not even a mistake, but a crime. But, I repeat, not after the elections. The voting is over, and another time has come - the time when the authorities do not need anyone and nothing. In addition to oil and gas revenues, of course.
Meanwhile, the problem remains extremely important. Poverty in Russia has not disappeared, and economic growth in 2021 is likely to be sporadic: without reliance on sustainable growth in real incomes, the economy will not be able to truly recover. In the context of high prices for our export goods, the current budget surplus and the continuing increase in reserve funds, it would be worth raising the question of canceling the freeze of funded pensions, which has been continuously extended since 2014; indexation of pensions for working old people; and the refusal to calculate a separate subsistence minimum for a pensioner who does not reach the level of a citizen of working age.
Pensioners in any country are not people “who can no longer be helped”, but a giant source of demand that keeps the economy afloat. And if the government in Russia does not think so, remembering the veterans only before the elections or on the eve of Victory Day, there is no need to expect sustainable economic growth in the country ...
Original: telegram channel "Kremlin Madness".