EDITORIAL: Russia’s Retirement Paradox


Russia’s Retirement Paradox

A Russian man on average lives to the age of 61.8 years while a Russian woman reaches 72.6 years of age.  This places Russia a shocking #135 on a list of 194 world nations when ranked for overall average life expectancy (65 years — Russians perish right at the time most Westerners are just starting retirement).

The stunning gap of more than a decade in average lifespan between Russian men and Russian women is matched by virtually no other country on the planet. Even in Japan, the country with the longest-lived women in the world, the gap between men and women is well under a decade.

But what is even more bizarre is Russia’s pension system, which awards retirement to women at 55 and to men 60.  This means that the average Russian man would only enjoy a pension for 1.8 years, while the average woman would get one for 17.6 years. Simply by virtue of being born female, a woman would get nearly ten times more pension benefits.

Shocking, isn’t it?

Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Shatalov has now announced a plan to raise the retirement age for both men and women to the age of 65, reducing the number of years for which a woman can collect her pension to 7.6 and raising the male number to 3.2, so that the women would then only receive a bit more than double the male rate.

The fact that Russia must engage in such a radical reduction in pension benefits, cutting a net total of 6.8 years from the benefits payable over a citizen’s lifetime, really tells you all you need to know about whether the vaunted Putin economy is doing well or not. If Russia was surging economically, it would not be cutting pension benefits it would be raising them. But RIA Novosti reports that “Social welfare is Russia’s largest budget expense and it will rise in 2012 by 20 percent to 3.8 trillion roubles ($135 billion), or a third of federal outlay.”

The Putin economy is simply not growing fast enough to keep up with pension demand at the current rate, not at least if Putin wants to continue his relentless and expensive cold war confrontation and aggression, and the Putin regime does not expect to be able to improve matters so it’s cutting benefits in order to avoid being swallowed by massive budget deficits.

23 responses to “EDITORIAL: Russia’s Retirement Paradox

  1. Butter or cannons? Let them eat bullets.

  2. Actually under the new rules the average Russian male will die 3.2 years prior to receiving any pension, which is even worse….

  3. Pingback: Russian Arms: Bad Quality and Overpriced « WesternDefenseStudiesInstitute

  4. Well, its probably OK for LR to use outdated stats (Rusisan men live to 63.04 years on average — still short but (i) its their choice and (ii) a noticeable improvement from previous years. But Andrew’s level of math is definitely not ok: 61.8-60 = 1.8 years (using LR’s outdated figures) 63.04-60 =3.04 years (using the real figures). Duh.


    OK, you piece of scum-sucking motherless garbage, we have bent over backwards seeking to tolerate you but now we have reached our ABSOLUTE LIMIT. If you do this just ONE MORE TIME, we will ban you from this blog by IP number. YOU MUST STOP LYING AND YOU MUST DO IT NOW!! Not one single additional instance of this conduct will be tolerated. APOLOGIZE to us for your utterly false allegation.

    The CIA estimate for 2011 found here


    clearly states that the average lifespan for a Russian man is 59.33, for women 73.13 and average for country is 66.03. This places Russia 161/223 world nations and 131/191 UN member states.

    • Well, you keep talking about great improvements made by Putin, but the statistical data does not bear this out. Life expectancy overall is now about the same as it was 40 years ago in 1970 and appreciable worse than it was in 1986, under the Communists.

      Every developed and many developing countries have made giant progress (added 5, 7 even 10 years) over the last 25 years, to say nothing of 40 years. Russia did not. You often mention a short period of last 2 or 3 year to show some uptick, but that’s what fraud in statistics is all about. You have to pick longer periods so that to allow various deviations to smooth out. See this chart:


      • And here is a better chart. See the progress made by the world, by Brazil, by China, even by India. Then compare to your beloved fatherland. The picture speaks for itself, I believe:


        • RV, you are right, male life expectancy in Russia was higher in 1990 than it is now. The drop in the life expectancy, however, took place in the period from 1990 to 2000. After this, male life expectancy has been showing a positive trend again. You cannot deny that the improvement took place under Putin and Medvedev. Sure, life expectancy in Russia is lower than in other countries, maily because of lifestyle deseases. What is your point? You say nothing here I would disagree with, except for the “improvement under Putin” appears to be pretty obvious if you compare this stat to the 1990-2000 period.


            • The Russian economy is doing better than most ex-USSR’s economies. If the pension benefits will be cut, however, I hope this will curb the role of the state in pension planning. Frankly, I am not a big fan of wellfare state. In any case, another positive that might come out of this could be the consolidation of society against the authorities, which may trigger the emergence of the much needed civil society in Russia. Having said this, I really doubt the pension benefits will be cut indeed.

    • Here, people getting REALLY MAD just because of a troll on the Internet. (Once again.) But hey, why do I even bother?

      • Exactly, why should you bother: no one even talks to you. It might be interesting however, to see why you think I am a troll and, say, Andrew and RV are not. And why your own post on AIDS in comments about corruption is not trolling.

    • Ahem, AT your level of reading comprehension is pretty poor.

      The new pension rules raise the age for men and women to receive pensions to 65.

      61.8 – 65 = -3.2


      So AT, I suggest that you shut up and learn to read.

    • Most wiki pages having to do with Russia/Russian or USSR (or prior countries and/or nationalities occupied and enslaved by the kremlin), are being rewritten by the KGB – on a daily basis – with disinformation.

    • Well, LR, what part of the term “ESTIMATES” do you not understand. Like all other sources, CIA uses the raw data from the Russian statistic agency. So apologize for what? For providing a link to more accurate data. Well, here is another link to the WHO site:
      It clearly shows that male lif expectancy in Russia was 62 years as early as in 2009, without the (“EST”) qualification the CIA site shows.

      • Your stupidity and illiteracy is truly breathtaking. Your suggestion that our data is somehow unreliable is total nonsense, and you made NO ATTEMPT to review all available data before making your outrageous misstatement. You mere chose to accept data coming directly from the Kremlin, but you are not God and are not the final arbiter of what is correct. All you are doing is expressing disagreement, nothing more, and your suggestion that the Kremlin’s own data can be accepted at face value is the statement of an utter imbecile. What’s more, YOU YOURSELF ADMIT that Russia does not rank in the top ONE HUNDRED nations of the world for life expectancy. Instead of focusing on REFORMS Russia should undertake to rectify this extremely serious problem, all you do is seek to distract attention from it. As such, you are no friend of Russia but among her worst enemies.

        • LR, I provided data directly from the World Health Organization, and the GKS numbers which is the absolute basis for all statistical study. As we discussed before, there is no way any other organization could have time and resources to check each death certificate in Russia and to calculate the life expectancy figure based on the raw data.

          Yes, I admit that hat Russia does not rank in the top ONE HUNDRED nations of the world for life expectancy. Also, I would like to see this problem to be analyzed and admitted based on accurate numbers, and taking both negative and positive trends into consideration. If such admission is sought through propaganda, the outcome will be only negative. As such, with enemies like you, Putin needs no friends.

  5. No, it did not work. The chart did not come out with various countries. To see that, one has to check one or more country on the left, then the picture appears automatically

  6. “As such, with enemies like you, Putin needs no friends.”

    Does that mean something in Russian, or is it a communist thing?

  7. I always thought russia was industrialised, oh wait no i didn’t.

  8. Pingback: Russia to Increase Retirement Age by 65 — Rokea Press

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