Go to ...

The Newspapers

Gathering and spreading news from various Russian Newspapers

The Newspapers on Google+The Newspapers on LinkedInRSS Feed

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Expert on the problems of pensioners: the most active voters are not yet revolutionaries

According to Rosstat, in 2017, 25% of Russians are men over 60 and women over 55 years. About 37 million people, one in four. The country is steadily aging over the last 15 years: in 2005, for example, people of pension age in Russia was a little more than 20%. All recipients of different kinds of pensions of nearly 43 million people.

The number of pensioners grows — so grows the impact of their mood and well being on the General mood in society. According to the CEC, in 2017 the right to vote have about 110 million people living in Russia. It turns out that 40% of them in one way or another depend on payments from the Pension Fund, and it is almost the most active voters.

And ahead of presidential elections

“MK” has decided to say, “measure the temperature” of the pensioner’s house. Our interlocutor — Deputy Director of the Institute for social policy, national research UNIVERSITY “Higher school of Economics”, economist Oksana SINYAVSKAYA.

photo: Alex geldings

— When in 2015 abolished the indexation of pensions to working pensioners, many experts, including you, predicted a decrease. Come true these predictions are?

— According to the Pension Fund of Russia, the share of working pensioners in their total number fell by more than a third: from 35.7% at the end of 2015 to 22.9% at the end of 2016. Thus, for the year FIU has lost more than 5 million people of working pensioners, for whom pay dues. According to our research, approximately 16% of pensioners, who worked in January 2016, saying that he left work because of the abolition of indexation. At the same Rosstat, in assessing the work activity of older persons in the labour force survey, this reduction is not showing. On the contrary, according to them, the levels of employment of persons 50-59 years of 2016 is a little older, and the level of employment of persons 60-72 years decreased by only 0.2 percentage points. This means that some pensioners simply went from the formal labor market, “in the shadow”.

But we must understand that among working pensioners, there are different categories. There are high-paying, skilled workers for which the lack of indexation of pensions is not a reason to leave work. And not just because their pension is much less than the salary and a few hundred rubles possible indexing can’t be a convincing motive for leaving work. Our research shows that seniors engaged in business, operating managers, specialists with higher education, maintaining social ties, status, confirmation that they need, the recognition of the public importance of their work.

As for the low-paid categories of workers — here are reasons to keep the official salary is less, and therefore care in the informal sector or even work for example. In the past year due to the cancellation of indexation of the formal labor market left mainly pensioners, employed unskilled or semi-skilled physical labor. But in any case, the process of reducing the number of working pensioners is not yet complete.

— While losing amount is less than the minimum wage or half of it? After all, for the money often employ watchmen, cleaners, cloakroom, nurses in hospitals…

Yes. While his departure “in the shadow” retirees often justify the fact that you need money for yourself or to support relatives, more free schedule. Don’t think it’s something illegal and condemnable.

— Probably, they believe that the government have already given — and taxes and insurance payments… And what the loss of the Pension Fund and Treasury from the fact that, having gone “into the shadows” or even from work, retirees stop paying taxes, and their salaries do not undertake the insurance?

Motif on what the state gave more than received, really very common. Accurate estimates of losses are there, but, according to our estimate, given last year’s low index and the extent of reduction in the number of working pensioners, they are quite comparable to the savings from deindexation pensions.

— After a government report in the state Duma in April of this year Dmitry Medvedev instructed to study the question of a possible return to indexation of pensions to working pensioners. Apparently, such possibility the government does not see?

Yet prevails the policy of reducing transfers from the Federal budget to the Pension Fund. Still not left actively discussed two years ago, plans a complete renunciation of the payment of pensions for the highly paid categories of pensioners. As regards indexation of pensions to working — this I think is now only possible as an exchange for some other unpopular measure that would reduce the expenses of the FIU. For example, in exchange for raising the retirement age.

Live longer — work longer

— Although publicly the decision to raise the retirement age to be announced, it seems to have been adopted and will be implemented after the presidential election…

— Yes, the probability of this is made public and the President. In society, judging by the polls, so implacable, as a few years ago, the relationship to raise the age limit of retirement is no more. According to our surveys, approximately one in five believes that the retirement age should be higher than the existing one. During the focus groups, people say that if they are aware of the exact parameters in what year and age they can retire, support a reasonable increase in the age will be more.

And objective reasons not to raise the age of retirement also becomes smaller: the changing structure of the economy — it is less professions of physical labor. Our main problem is the life expectancy in recent years is slowly increasing and is not so low even in men, and the society is aging. (According to Rosstat, the life expectancy of those born in 2017 the Russians — 72.26 years, while women — 77,49 years, and men — 66,93 years. — “MK”.) In addition, there is the experience of neighboring countries who’ve gone through this — for example, the Baltic countries, Kazakhstan. The impression is that at the political level there was a consensus, and disputes and discussions, bargaining kind of, will be only about how to implement this difficult decision. For example, to what strap to raise the age, should this limit be the same for men and women and how to make the transition (3 or 6 months per year).

— Adopted last year the law introduces a gradual increase of the age of retirement for those in the civil service, and for men to 65 years and for women to 63. This scheme can be modelled?

Surveys and studies show that Russian society (and politicians) are not ready yet to do the bar retirement the same for men and women. More or less the General opinion is that women should retire 2-3 years earlier than men.

— Even given the fact that men die earlier?

Apparently, the impact of gender stereotypes — the perception of women as the weaker sex. It is believed that women need to “reward” a lower age because they carry a double work load at work and at home…

In any case, it is necessary to discuss in detail and carefully calculate all the possible consequences of different borders retirement age: for example, if we get a sharp rise in disability among workers of advanced age. When people condition to work in full force, the right to a pension do not have and will just apply for disability, that will also require additional spending from the budget.

photo: ru.wikipedia.org
The last wave of mass protest activity of pensioners was caused by the monetization of benefits. On the photo: Jan 2005, overlapping Moskovsky Avenue in Saint-Petersburg.

Just bought a coat, take care of it

— The average amount of insurance old-age pension in the last year rose slightly and is now over 13 600 rubles per month. And what happens to real, not nominal income of pensioners?

— According to Rosstat, in the last months of salary in real terms (i.e. after deduction of all mandatory charges. — “MK”) is growing, although not yet recovered to pre-crisis levels. With regard to pensions, early in the year we saw some artifact of growth, which was associated with the January one-time fee of 5 thousand rubles: it was included in the calculation and received short-term increase, and then retirement again began to decline in real terms. But in may they accounted for 100% of the level in 2016, and in principle we can say that the decline of pensions in real terms is also stopped.

As the two main sources of retirement income represented by salaries and pensions, we can assume that the dynamics of their income close to the beginning of the recovery growth.

Another thing is that the incomes of pensioners in General is not very high, the savings in such quantity that they could be used for current needs, not (for most, the only “funeral money”), and falling incomes in recent years has led to the forced to reduce and change consumption.

Pensioners have less to eat?

Among pensioners ‘ expenses is the cost of utilities, which are growing all the time, and to reduce them will not work. Health services retirees are still trying to get free. So basically they restricted the expenditure on medicines is the main source of savings, as well as the purchase of clothing, shoes and foodstuffs. Now there has been some recovery in consumer activity, but this is due to the recovery of consumption of paid services, but not products.

— Then we return to the 90-ies, when the old wore an overcoat and used appliances since the Soviet Union?

— If fulfilled official forecasts and will begin a period of recovery growth, the situation of 90-ies we get back. In any case, thanks to a decade of economic growth the level of provision of different goods from today’s retirees still much better than it was in the early 90s. besides, the elderly have not escaped the consumer boom at the end of 2014 associated with changes in the exchange rate, and some supplies they have. Plus more price choices of different products allowed to pensioners over the past two years to move to consumption of cheaper products, goods, medicines…

But if the crisis lasts longer, we see not only the further deterioration in the quality of consumption, but also the fact that people for many years will use the old stock, not reimbursing them.

Children do not helps those who help themselves

— At the exit of the crisis can be no growth, and stagnation. And none of even the most optimistic economist doesn’t promise that the pension will increase by 2-3 times. Where pensioners can receive the money on consumption growth?

— Older heterogeneous. There are relatively prosperous in material terms the younger retirement ages (55-65) who are working. They’re trying to update appliances, make some repairs, help children, knowing that when I leave from the labor market, life would be much harder.

The second relatively prosperous group — pensioners over 80 years. They paid an increased amount of the fixed pension Supplement (plus 4805 rubles 11 kopecks. — “MK”), at the same time, due to age features of reduced requirements, and if they have serious limitations in life, they begin to spend less. Therefore, the pensioners, especially in rural areas and small towns, often also help their children and grandchildren.

But do very old do not increase the cost of treatment?

For the older age group, I think the main problem is not so much a treatment as a social service. Well, if they can look after someone from the family members, but if not, then now, especially in connection with the adoption of the new law “About bases of social service of citizens of the Russian Federation”, everything depends on the income of the person. If they are below half a living wage — he gets care for free, and if higher you will have to pay. (According to Rosstat, the minimum subsistence level of a pensioner in the first quarter of 2017 made 8178 roubles a month. — “MK”.)

— Than compensate for older Russians the loss of income if some of them left work and serious savings there?

— Private farming ceased to be a significant source of cash income of people in old age, evidenced by the 2010 census and the microcensus of the population in 2015: it indicated about 14% of persons of retirement age. Of course, the situation is different in urban and rural areas, but this source never is the main. I think people learned to count and compare how much work and money they have invested and how much was in it. Vegetable gardens for the elderly — is an additional source of food for themselves. And the ownership of our seniors are not, and the proportion of those who can live from the rent of housing, it is localized in large cities and small social segments.

So our elderly don’t to rely on except the state pension. But all the well-being of the Western pensioners is not so much the state pension, how much pension companies, savings, and income from property that is passed from generation to generation, and as a result people have something to live with dignity, when they no longer work.

Always was considered that Russian society is Patriarchal, families often live together with the elderly and it provides support for the generations to each other…

— We are gradually fading, although the proportion of intergenerational households is still much higher than in Western countries. This is partly due to the lack of housing, and partly to attempts to solve the problem of care because most live with their children or grandchildren of elderly women aged 75 years and older. In a sense, we are still quite a traditional society: it is believed that the care for the elderly and helping them is a responsibility of the family, and too bad if your parents, grandparents live in a nursing home. But in the material sense often turns out the opposite: that cash flows are not from the young to the elderly and from the elderly to the young, they help their children, especially while continuing to work. In fact children take responsibility only when parents become physically helpless.

Play with the government in “thimbles”

— In 2022 will begin mass retirement of those whose salaries were paid cumulative contributions, but for the past few years, the transfer of these funds to the personal accounts frozen and goes into the pot…

The problem is that now in compulsory retirement savings are not interested, neither the Finance Ministry nor the Ministry of labor. The Ministry has always believed that savings should be voluntary, but mandatory only to take money from current retirees. The Ministry of Finance, was money, was willing to Finance a revenue shortfall in the Pension Fund due to the budget. But no more money. That is why the Finance Ministry proposed a scheme of individual pension capital in which budget losses will be less. This idea is based on the experience of some Anglo-Saxon countries, repeated in Armenia, Georgia and some other countries of our closest environment. Mostly the arguments are about how all the lawful default to include people in the system of formation of pension savings, if you now make contributions to them have from his salary (now cumulative contributions from the wage Fund does employer. — “MK”). The second matter of dispute is that as incentive offers income tax and reduce payments on insurance premiums, but income tax is the source of financing of social obligations of the regional budgets, and the insurance payments go to pay pensions…

The social block of the government there are serious objections, but the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance are very successful in promoting its vision, and, unfortunately, without extensive expert discussion, which greatly worsens the situation. There is no opportunity to discuss weaknesses and, perhaps, to offer arguments in support of this scheme.

The question is really complicated. People recognize themselves in the opinion polls, which if left accumulate only voluntary, almost no one to do their will. Most people just can’t afford it. Choice “to postpone retirement or to pay for education for a child or for the care of the parents” is not favor of savings, which is understandable.

— What will happen to the pensions of those 14 years, the employers made contributions to the funded part?

— There is no agreement. The concept of individual pension capital assumes that you have already made the savings will go, and you simply continue to form what was previously formed. And if you win idea of voluntary pension savings, a problem arises: whether to leave the accumulated money in non-PF and then to pay one-time because the amount of savings mostly small, whether to return all accumulated in the pension insurance system.

The question is still pending, but it involves the interests of many workers. So, I think it will be solved in the next year or two.

Every time freeze the cumulative part, the social unit claims that money is not lost, they are converted into points and will be taken into account when calculating pensions. It really is a equivalent replacement?

In my opinion, no. When pension assets were accounted in rubles, at least it was known how many there are. Now we know only the scores, but don’t know how much it will cost score, when we retire. In 2002 it was still possible to discuss whether to introduce a pension savings, but once they entered, pandemonium freezes and talk about what I’ve covered, affects the attitude of citizens to the pension system as a whole, and for any ideas for its reform. In casual conversation people say that the refusal of the authorities from the earlier commitments and the additional incentive to with the state in any of the games you no longer play. Even people of working age in large part calmly say that you are getting the salary in envelopes, and anything terrible in it do not see. Like, still my pension is low and it is not live.

Unhappy, but passive

Was there during the years of the crisis changes in the attitudes of pensioners?

— Their perception of their situation is gradually changing. In the previous crisis of 2008-2009, pensions grew, and retirees were, in fact, the only successful group of people. Therefore, when the crisis began in 2014, they first had maintained a fairly upbeat attitude to what will happen, and subjective assessment of their situation is not very deteriorated. But the enduring nature of the crisis and the fact that this time the government because of budgetary constraints uses a very different strategy, with neendakara or nudeinterracial social benefits, led to the fact that now seniors are among the social groups with the worst assessments of their situation as a whole (it is said that the income is insufficient), and their consumer status (among them most those who have enough money only for food and clothing with shoes). In addition to pensioners in this category also fall the villagers and citizens without higher education. For example, if among the total population the share of those who only have enough money for food and clothes with the shoes is 38%, while among persons with secondary education — 44%, rural population — 45%, and pensioners — 54%.

It is important that this year we saw and increase in the elderly concerns about the future, despite the positive rhetoric that comes from the government via the media.

Pensioners in recent years have been relatively calm group of people. In 2005 when the monetization of benefits, we have seen a recent surge of “mass age” of protest activity. Can they again go outside? They have nothing to lose — the work will not be fired and 80 years 20 years not planted.

— In principle, Yes, with age comes a certain degree of freedom… But the monetization of social benefits were significant one-time deterioration of the situation. And now the deterioration is very slow, and I think that protest potential is unlikely to rise. But the protraction of the crisis and the drop in the standard of living of a large group of dissatisfied we to can.

It is important that from year to year older bother the same two key issues. The first is the unavailability of quality health services and medicines, and this is of concern to all pensioners regardless of income level, social status and place of residence. And the second is soaring prices for housing and communal services.

— “All stopped again till dawn”, that is, before the presidential election… Even the decisions taken are not implemented. What are some of the problems of the pension system still need to address immediately?

— It is necessary to strictly adhere to a policy of indexation of pensions by at least the rate of inflation. Otherwise, we will get the impoverishment of older people, and well it will not end. Ideally it would be great to index pensions by an amount greater than inflation, maintaining the ratio of wages (according to Rosstat, in 2016 the average appointed pension 33.7% of the average wage. — “MK”). But this begs the question about the sources of financing the pension system, and one of the possible tools that allows you to get some savings, not much worsening the situation of people, raising the retirement age. And the options for waiving the payment of pensions to working pensioners is fraught with falling living standards. And the fate of the funded pensions should be solved as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, our pension system to a very large extent a hostage of what is happening in the economy and in the labour market. On the one hand, we have aging population, and with another — at the current level of wages cannot be high no pension, no savings. We simply have to exist in conditions, when new generations of people once again find themselves in a situation when in old age they can only rely on his pension and see how they have enough energy for work…


Related posts:
Supporters of the DNI relaxed and almost lost debaltseve
The Kremlin is aware of the overlap of the coffins of the highway near Gelendzhik
The attempted coup in LC: expert predicted the development of events
Udaltsov recused himself and did not become a Trustee Grudinina


More Stories From Politics