Russians rally against Vladimir Putin's pension age hike in fresh protests

Russians rally against Vladimir Putin's pension age hike in fresh protests

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny - now serving a 30-day prison sentence for organizing unauthorized public events - called for the rallies, which were held in dozens of towns and cities to protest a government proposal to increase the state pension age by five years.

Even without the ads, Russians took to the streets yesterday to protest the pension plan.

Police on September 9 detained 839 people at the election-day protests, which were held in dozens of cities and towns across Russian Federation, according to OVD-Info. Protests organised by the Communist Party were held across Russian Federation earlier this month.

The state media reported an idealized image of Election Day, including video of President Vladimir Putin voting in Moscow.

Navalny, the anti-corruption activist who is Putin's most visible foe, had called for protests against the government's pension proposal before he was sentenced to 30 days in jail for organizing an unsanctioned January protest over a different issue.

The pension reform plan envisages gradually increasing the retirement age to 65 by 2028 from 60 now for men and to 60 by 2034 from 55 now for women.

The OVD-Info group, which tracks police detentions and posts the names of the detainees on its website, said Monday that 1,018 people were detained, almost half of them in St. Petersburg.




Navalny, barred from state TV and prevented from running against Putin for president earlier this year, hopes to tap into public anger over the reform.

"Putin and his government have plundered the budget for the past 18 years", Mr Navalny's team said in a statement prior to Sunday's protests. They chanted "Russia without Putin" and held signs including "Putin, when will you go on pension?"

At least 2,000 people rallied in central Moscow, an AFP correspondent said, as the capital held a mayoral election the Kremlin-backed incumbent is sure to win. "I want a better life for myself and my children".

Mr Putin makes a point of never mentioning Mr Navalny by name but has suggested he is Washington's pick for the Russian presidency.

In 2013, Sobyanin barely escaped a second-round run-off after a strong challenge from Putin's top critic Alexei Navalny, who unexpectedly picked up over a quarter of the ballots.

Their compliance with the request also came after Russian Federation warned the company last week that "meddling" in the Sunday elections could result in court action, according to AFP. The Communist Party and United Russia got 34 percent and 27.8 percent in Irkutsk Oblast, 31 percent and 25.5 percent in Khakasia and 36.3 percent and 34 percent in Ulyanovsk Oblast, respectively.

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