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.