Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said he disliked controversial government moves to raise the pension age that have caused his approval ratings to plummet but insisted action must be taken.
“I don’t like any (proposals) linked to raising the pension age,” Putin said in televised comments in the city of Kaliningrad.
He added however that doing nothing was not an option, since the ageing population would eventually cause the pension system to collapse and insisted that “all the same we need to take some decisions”.
This was his first reaction after Russia’s lower house of parliament on Thursday gave initial backing to draft legislation gradually raising the pension age to 63 for women and 65 for men.
The proposals backed by the government of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev were made public after Putin won a fourth Kremlin term in March and have provoked a rare outburst of public anger.
According to the VTsIOM state pollster, the Kremlin leader’s approval ratings slumped by a record 14 percentage points in the space of nearly two weeks — to 64 percent on June 24 from 78 percent on June 14.
More than 2.8 million people have signed an online petition against the reforms. According to the independent Levada pollster, 89 percent of Russians oppose the measure.
Russia still has retirement ages of 55 for women and 60 for men that date back to the early Soviet era and are among the lowest in the world.