Oct 5, 2021
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Pronko: "The mistake led to the collapse, the old people stayed extreme"

Often Russian officials make mistakes because of their indifference or laziness. Another option is a cynical delusion, which is based on the thesis that national happiness is possible only at the expense of this very people. The latter option, in my opinion, was at the heart of the so-called pension reform. Today its preliminary results have become known – the number of pensioners in Russia is sharply decreasing. The Ministry of Finance does not hide in its documents that this process is becoming irreversible.

According to the draft budget of the Pension Fund of Russia (PFR), the total number of recipients of old-age benefits in the country by the end of this year will decrease by 398 thousand people, in 2022 – by another 326 thousand. At the same time, there will be almost one million fewer pensioners – recipients of old-age insurance pensions at the end of 2023.

First, the numbers we see are not economics. This is politics in its purest form. There are fewer pensioners, not because, so to speak, our people do not want to retire. It’s just that this pension reform plus, so to speak, “natural” decline leads to the fact that we simply have fewer pensioners. And it is clear from these figures that this is a political decision of the state in order to finally throw off social obligations. That is, raising the retirement age did not work. In fact, we see that these figures cannot even cover the indexation of pensions. And, accordingly, the fact that Maxim Topilina made the chairman of the State Duma commission on precisely these issues, says that the state is preparing another pension reform at the legislative level, – the political scientist believes Georgy Fedorov

However, a sharp reduction in pensioners will not lead to an increase in the standard of living among the elderly in Russia. So, the average insurance pension next year will be 17 thousand 115 rubles and will grow by only 819 rubles, or 5%, which is much less than the inflation rates that we observe in everyday life. In other words, in real terms, “old age benefits” will decline, not increase. The situation with the indexation of social pensions is not much better. According to the projections, it will amount to 7.1%, or 715 rubles. However, the final amount of the payment – 10 thousand 791 rubles – will be only 5% higher than the pensioner’s subsistence minimum.

Despite the reduction in the number of pensioners, the Pension Fund budget remains extremely deficit. Moreover, this deficit has grown significantly in recent years. Because, say, in 2020, the number of payers of contributions to the Pension Fund decreased by 4.5 million. Hence the problems associated with the fact that the Pension Fund, although its budget deficit is still covered from the federal budget, does not provide more support to pensioners, the economist noted. Andrey Kolganov… – This is already a matter of state policy priorities. What will the funds be directed to? A significant part of the Pension Fund’s funds in 2020 and at the beginning of 2021 was spent not on the actual payment of pensions, but, say, on the payment of benefits to low-income families with children. It turns out, in general, something similar to Trishkin’s caftan: if you manage to put a patch in one place, then you can’t put a patch in another place.

If we analyze the designs of the Ministry of Economic Development for the next three years, the picture will be quite grim. If in 2020 there were 36.8 million citizens “over working age” in Russia, then this number will decrease to 36.1 million and will continue to decline annually at a rate of 500-600 thousand people. By the end of next year, there will be 35.5 million retirees, by the end of 2023 – 34.9 million, by the end of 2024 – 34.4 million.

The problem is that this task, the task of forming a normal Pension Fund, had to start immediately after the completion of this default of 1998, that is, conditionally, from zero. And now, over these twenty years, we could form a new, completely normal, as is customary throughout the world, pension system, – says the head of the Council of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Russia for financial and industrial policy. Vladimir Gamza… – To do this, it was then necessary to divide into two parts the obligations of the state to pensioners, who already then, conditionally, as of January 1, 2001, were pensioners, and to pay their pensions simply at the expense of the budget, and not the Pension Fund. At that time, there was no need to mix up the obligations of the state simply to certain categories of persons and pension obligations are being formed.

So what?

The ill-conceived pension reform initiated by the previous government continues to expose the cynical essence of what is happening in our country. The mistake led to the collapse, and the old people remained extreme. It’s time to “tie up” with this! It’s time to stop manipulating our old people. Russia, by the way, is still a welfare state, it would be good for officials not to forget about this.

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