ISSN 2330-717X

Will Moscow Keep Its Pension Promises Until 2036? – OpEd


The SerpomPo telegram channel is extremely skeptical about Moscow’s latest promise not to further raise the country’s pension age until at least 2036, not just because that date is no far in the future that no one can know what such promises mean but also because by two decades from now, Russia itself may not exist.

Many Russians are skeptical about government promises, especially when they involve something the government has already reneged on in the past or are set so far in the future that no current official, not even Vladimir Putin, will be in office, the telegram channel continues (, reposted at and

But instead of focusing on that, SerpomPo suggests, Russians should be asking how Russian will be able to cope with the challenges it clearly faces and whether it will even exist in anything like its current form. The likely answers to those questions, it says, are anything but reassuring.

“The first and obvious threat is Russia’s increasing lag between the world power centers, China, the US, and Europe, in technology and wealth.” Despite its size and natural resources, Russia isn’t doing well or setting itself up to do better anytime soon, the telegram channel argues.

“It is obvious,” SerpomPo says, “that the Putin model of the organization of the economy, the political system and society are incapable of doing anything” in that regard.

Another threat is “the colossal and growing social gap between the small group of wealth people, as a rule connected with the state and the basic mass of poor ones.”  Because wealth and political power are so intertwined in Russia, the channel says, “a social explosion will lead to the destruction of the state itself.”

A third threat is “the growing divide between Moscow and the rest of the country.” These are now “two different countries, two different worlds, two poles,” one of which enriches itself while the other descends ever more deeply into poverty.

And fourth and most dangerous of all is the divide between the world the Kremlin portrays in its speeches and via television and the world real people experience.  Myths about “great victories” and “false achievements” do not solve anything; instead, they make addressing real problems more difficult even as those problems become more pressing

They are not making Russia great again, SerpomPo says; they are making the probability of cataclysmic developments more likely.

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Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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