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The Pensions Protests in Russia
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1. There were no more than 2,000-3,000 people protesting in Moscow about the raising of the retirement age (at most). This is the definition of “storm in a teacup.”

2. Navalny bandwagoning on this issue is particularly implausible, since he is an economic neoliberal. Which, to be sure, is one of the exceeding few good things about him. (Before the Putin cultists get here – you do realize your god is an economic neoliberal too? And that’s a good thing, because we don’t want to end up like Venezuela, which is what would happen if someone like Glazyev was running the economy). But thankfully, Muscovites are intelligent enough to see through Navalny’s charade – even if Western PDS sufferers are not, seeing in this the germs of the next Russian revolution.

3. The usual photos of Russian policemen brutally harassing children were making the rounds on my Facebook feed. Here’s a more complete picture:

russian-police-killing-children

4. At the outset, I predicted that raising the retirement age (Russia’s is currently the lowest in all Europe) will be a temporary jolt to the Kremlin’s popularity ratings, just like the monetization of benefits reform in 2005, and will not translate into significant discontent.

This seems to have been correct. After having slumped from ~78% to ~62%, Putin’s approval ratings are slowly climbing up again in the past few weeks, and the protests have failed to materialize into anything substantial. Indeed, the pensioner protests of 2005 were significantly larger and more disruptive.

5. The main bad news is that the Kremlin has softened the reform, only raising the retirement age for women by 5 years instead of 8 years; consequently, there remains a 5 year gap between men and women.

Furthermore, there will be a year cut off for every child that women have above two, while the retirement age will remain 50 years for those with 5 or more children. While in principle I support lower retirement ages for women with children, on both “social justice” (there can’t be any reasonable doubt that women have to invest much more into children relative to men) and pro-natality grounds (Russia’s TFR = 1.6 children is not catastrophic, but trends are negative, and it’s still far too low), this seems like a pretty bad way to structure it, since it will overwhelmingly be lower IQ ethnic minorities benefitting from this. (Families of 5 or more amongst ethnic Russians are practically unheard of). This means that we might now get the spectacle of a Russian man in Irkutsk with an LE of 65 retiring at 65, while a Chechen woman with an LE of 80 gets to retire at 50.

Here is how I would structure the pensions reform:

  1. Equalize retirement age for both sexes at 63-65 years by 2030, then set at a percentage of life expectancy. The latter is a highly fair, sustainable, and technocratic solution that has already been implemented in Netherlands and Estonia, countries with highly intelligent and disciplined citizenries that enable the legislation of good policies.
  2. Drop the retirement age for women for every child they have up to some rational limit like 5 children. Also tie it to not having a criminal record.

Unfortunately, the Kremlin’s policy-making is far less effective than that, and regionally haphazard.

For instance, Moscow Mayor Sobyanin has informally promised that the retirement age will remain as is for Muscovites, with the city budget making up the difference. Moscow, as the only Russian region where life expectancy has converged to Western levels, obviously needs to keep the Soviet retirement age – when Muscovites lived a decade less – more than anybody else in the Russian Federation. But on the “plus” side, this helped Sobyanin to convincingly win the Moscow Mayoral elections yesterday, getting 70% of the vote.

All of these concessions to populist demotism have substantially weakened the benefits of this reform.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Color Revolution, Moscow, Politics, Russia 
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  1. neutral says:

    If Putin did not raise the pension age then the (((establishment))) talking points would be how Russia is being reckless and populist by not tackling its future pension problems.

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  2. One thing that makes pension reform somewhat easier in the West is that working conditions are continually improving. Not only have hours worked gone down, but the work itself is far more attuned to ergonomical conditions, safety conditions are not only more strict but also largely followed etc. The average German only works something like 1390 hours on an annual basis today, whereas Russians are at 2050 hours.

    This means that working beyond 65 is no longer a drudgery for everyone, since total hours worked of a lifetime for a Western boomer twenty years from now will be far below that of a Russian equivalent citizen at a similar age. On top of that, at least our boomers litterally never had it so good as they do now.

    On top of that, if you look at the last 50 years Swedish workers have had it very good without any major shocks. Even during our 1990s crisis, our social safety net was extremely strong, albeit still somewhat trimmed from it’s near-parodical generosity in the 70s and 80s. Russians never had that. The period of 1990-2010 was one of basic stagnation (extreme loss and extreme recovery but ended up largely where they left in PPP terms). Put it all together and I am somewhat more sympathetic to the complaints of the Russians.

    Nevertheless, the reform is correct.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    This is certainly a legitimate issue, though one that is inevitable in light of Russia's lower development level and toxic office culture (though these are not problems specific to Russia)
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  3. Jon0815 says:

    Moscow, as the only Russian region where life expectancy has converged to Western levels, needs to keep the Soviet retirement age – when Muscovites lived a decade less – more than anybody else in the Russian Federation.

    I think this should be “less than anybody”

    AK: Thanks. I thought the sarcasm would be clear, but added an “obviously” just in case.

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  4. @Thulean Friend
    One thing that makes pension reform somewhat easier in the West is that working conditions are continually improving. Not only have hours worked gone down, but the work itself is far more attuned to ergonomical conditions, safety conditions are not only more strict but also largely followed etc. The average German only works something like 1390 hours on an annual basis today, whereas Russians are at 2050 hours.

    This means that working beyond 65 is no longer a drudgery for everyone, since total hours worked of a lifetime for a Western boomer twenty years from now will be far below that of a Russian equivalent citizen at a similar age. On top of that, at least our boomers litterally never had it so good as they do now.

    On top of that, if you look at the last 50 years Swedish workers have had it very good without any major shocks. Even during our 1990s crisis, our social safety net was extremely strong, albeit still somewhat trimmed from it's near-parodical generosity in the 70s and 80s. Russians never had that. The period of 1990-2010 was one of basic stagnation (extreme loss and extreme recovery but ended up largely where they left in PPP terms). Put it all together and I am somewhat more sympathetic to the complaints of the Russians.

    Nevertheless, the reform is correct.

    This is certainly a legitimate issue, though one that is inevitable in light of Russia’s lower development level and toxic office culture (though these are not problems specific to Russia)

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    • Replies: @Rattus Norwegius
    What do you mean by "toxic office culture"?
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  5. Here is how I would structure the pensions reform:

    Drop the retirement age for women for every child they have up to some rational limit like 5 children. Also tie it to not having a criminal record.

    Unfortunately, the Kremlin’s policy-making is far less effective than that, and regionally haphazard.

    Before you are going to praise your own ideas, mind explaining the purpose behind this one?

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  6. Anatoly, TFR 1.6 is of course catastrophic, if not overnight.

    Especially when hostile or untrustworthy competing peoples nearby are either vastly bigger in population and economic clout (China) or has a substantial military and is consistently growing when you’re not growing (Turkey).

    Moreover, what about the culture and mores of Russia as its population becomes slowly but steadily both more Muslim and less Slavic?

    I understand that many Muslim groups in Russia have a blessedly low TFR (central Asians, Dagestanis). But central Asians keep coming in to Russia in substantial net numbers, don’t they? And Chechens, albeit from a very small base, are churning out the kids.

    Russia might not still be Russian in just a few decades’ time, even if the transformation may not happen as quickly and drastically as it is already happening in the USA and most of Europe.

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  7. Not Raul says:

    Neoliberal Putin horseshoe

    A) Putin is a true neoliberal, and that’s awesome.
    B) Putin is not a true neoliberal, and that’s awesome.
    C) Putin is a true neoliberal, and that’s terrible.
    D) Putin is not a true neoliberal, and that’s terrible.

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    • LOL: Anatoly Karlin
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  8. 5371 says:

    [we don’t want to end up like Venezuela, which is what would happen if someone like Glazyev was running the economy]

    Even HBD and IQ-centrism, so dear to AK’s heart, are forgotten instantly when the opportunity arises for a boomeresque outburst against soshuluzm.
    Russia needs to plan for war, not for some outdated neoliberal future.

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    • Replies: @A22
    Raising income taxes on the rich and introducing extreme capital flight restrictions are the only solutions. Neoliberalism means slavery to to the international capital market.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Except that Russia is not planning for war. And Columbia and Venezuela are extremely similar HBD/IQ-wise.
    , @Felix Keverich
    Venezuela looks like it's in great shape to fight a war, isn't it? Hyperinflation and food shortages FTW!

    Russians may be racially superior to latino people, but we had both food shortages and hyperinflation in our recent history - left-wing economic policies produce the same outcome in every country they were tried.
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  9. A22 says:
    @5371
    [we don’t want to end up like Venezuela, which is what would happen if someone like Glazyev was running the economy]

    Even HBD and IQ-centrism, so dear to AK's heart, are forgotten instantly when the opportunity arises for a boomeresque outburst against soshuluzm.
    Russia needs to plan for war, not for some outdated neoliberal future.

    Raising income taxes on the rich and introducing extreme capital flight restrictions are the only solutions. Neoliberalism means slavery to to the international capital market.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    This assumes that Russia is a country where rich people pay taxes. That is not exactly right. ;)

    Russian state is actually pretty bad at collecting taxes and increasing taxes on the rich will likely cause more evasion. The state might end up with less revenue, than what it had before! "Issues of tax administration" has been the main reason cited by Kremlin against adopting progressive income tax scale and raising taxes on the rich in Russia.
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  10. @5371
    [we don’t want to end up like Venezuela, which is what would happen if someone like Glazyev was running the economy]

    Even HBD and IQ-centrism, so dear to AK's heart, are forgotten instantly when the opportunity arises for a boomeresque outburst against soshuluzm.
    Russia needs to plan for war, not for some outdated neoliberal future.

    Except that Russia is not planning for war. And Columbia and Venezuela are extremely similar HBD/IQ-wise.

    Read More
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  11. @5371
    [we don’t want to end up like Venezuela, which is what would happen if someone like Glazyev was running the economy]

    Even HBD and IQ-centrism, so dear to AK's heart, are forgotten instantly when the opportunity arises for a boomeresque outburst against soshuluzm.
    Russia needs to plan for war, not for some outdated neoliberal future.

    Venezuela looks like it’s in great shape to fight a war, isn’t it? Hyperinflation and food shortages FTW!

    Russians may be racially superior to latino people, but we had both food shortages and hyperinflation in our recent history – left-wing economic policies produce the same outcome in every country they were tried.

    Read More
    • Replies: @5371
    You mean Gaidar's left-wing policies?
    Glazyev is a feller with some very mild tendencies towards dirigisme FFS. He may well not be hard and decisive enough to hand the economy over to him, but too crazy, extreme and socialist? Scarcely.
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  12. @A22
    Raising income taxes on the rich and introducing extreme capital flight restrictions are the only solutions. Neoliberalism means slavery to to the international capital market.

    This assumes that Russia is a country where rich people pay taxes. That is not exactly right. ;)

    Russian state is actually pretty bad at collecting taxes and increasing taxes on the rich will likely cause more evasion. The state might end up with less revenue, than what it had before! “Issues of tax administration” has been the main reason cited by Kremlin against adopting progressive income tax scale and raising taxes on the rich in Russia.

    Read More
    • Replies: @A22
    Which is why I am also for introducing strict capital flight control. Money due taxation shouldn't be able to go to Switzerland.
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  13. A22 says:
    @Felix Keverich
    This assumes that Russia is a country where rich people pay taxes. That is not exactly right. ;)

    Russian state is actually pretty bad at collecting taxes and increasing taxes on the rich will likely cause more evasion. The state might end up with less revenue, than what it had before! "Issues of tax administration" has been the main reason cited by Kremlin against adopting progressive income tax scale and raising taxes on the rich in Russia.

    Which is why I am also for introducing strict capital flight control. Money due taxation shouldn’t be able to go to Switzerland.

    Read More
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  14. 5371 says:
    @Felix Keverich
    Venezuela looks like it's in great shape to fight a war, isn't it? Hyperinflation and food shortages FTW!

    Russians may be racially superior to latino people, but we had both food shortages and hyperinflation in our recent history - left-wing economic policies produce the same outcome in every country they were tried.

    You mean Gaidar’s left-wing policies?
    Glazyev is a feller with some very mild tendencies towards dirigisme FFS. He may well not be hard and decisive enough to hand the economy over to him, but too crazy, extreme and socialist? Scarcely.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Gaidar didn't run the country as a dictator. Believe it or not, but Russia's main problem in 1990s was having too much socialism in the economy. Coupled with a Soviet-trained government apparatus, unprepared to handle complexities of the market economy.
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  15. @5371
    You mean Gaidar's left-wing policies?
    Glazyev is a feller with some very mild tendencies towards dirigisme FFS. He may well not be hard and decisive enough to hand the economy over to him, but too crazy, extreme and socialist? Scarcely.

    Gaidar didn’t run the country as a dictator. Believe it or not, but Russia’s main problem in 1990s was having too much socialism in the economy. Coupled with a Soviet-trained government apparatus, unprepared to handle complexities of the market economy.

    Read More
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  16. Gerard2 says:

    Drop the retirement age for women for every child they have up to some rational limit like 5 children. Also tie it to not having a criminal record.

    This was literally the main proposal in Putin’s big address to the nation 2 weeks ago. Unless you were on holiday .how could you have missed this?

    Utterly bizarre from the “russophile” [[[Anatoly Karlin]]]

    The proposal from the President was the the retirement age for women to be reduced from 63 to 60 years (not specified when this would be finalised as the 63 age date was set to be complete by 2034) ….with the 60 going down to 55 years for women who have 3 children, then something like 53 or 52 years for women who have 4…..then down to 50 for those who have 5 or more.

    the special role of a mother was a theme of what Putin was talking about in his address.
    Less time reading liberast 5th column c*nts like the dumb asswipe Bershidsky, who Anatoly seems to be addicted to,….and more time reading patriots…they happen to be more intelligent than liberasts anyway. This would rectify Karlin’s problems

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  17. @Anatoly Karlin
    This is certainly a legitimate issue, though one that is inevitable in light of Russia's lower development level and toxic office culture (though these are not problems specific to Russia)

    What do you mean by “toxic office culture”?

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