Russia’s parliament has given preliminary approval to raising the pension age from 55 to 63 for women and 60 to 65 for men. This is a concession offered to angry Russians amid widespread outcry

If the measures are approved, it will be the first time in 80 years that Russia raises the pension age.

The proposal has provoked a nationwide outcry and helped erode trust in Putin’s leadership, polls indicate. The level of trust has fallen from 60 per cent half a year ago to 48 per cent, according to the country’s largest independent pollster, Levada Centre.

Reaching out to the nation to support the reform in a nationally televised speech, Putin suggested on Wednesday that the pension age for women should only be increased to 60.

“Once more I emphasize that we need to make a difficult, unpleasant but necessary decision,” he said. As Russia struggles with “serious demographic problems,” there is an escalating burden on the pension system, he said.

Mothers with multiple children should be allowed to retire earlier, Putin argued, adding that his proposals would be submitted to parliament.

“If a woman has three children, she will be able to retire with a pension three years earlier. If she has four children, then four years earlier,” he said.

Putin said that the political opposition “will, of course, use the situation to promote themselves and strengthen their positions.”

He had instructed senior officials to consider “constructive proposals, including from the opposition,” he added.

(dpa)