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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 February 2005

Russian pensioners put pressure on Putin

ON 12 February, nearly 300 demonstrations took place in 77 regions across Russia. Most were called by political alliances of various parties especially, but not only, on the left. Red flags were much in evidence.

Clare Doyle

They aimed to keep up pressure on the Putin government following the wave of mass protests by pensioners and others against the 'monetisation' (reduction) of their benefits.

A few other demonstrations were organised simultaneously by government forces, bringing well-dressed men and women onto the streets to express their confidence in Putin's policies. (Transport, food and TV coverage guaranteed!).

The Putin government's popularity has plummeted, particularly over the treatment of the pensioners, in the context of an expanding economy and massive oil revenues.

Friends of mine on pensions or invalidity benefits told me they had to laugh or they would cry. In one meeting a local bureaucrat tried to explain how they could manage on their 260 roubles ($8) payment and how there would be at least two categories of people allowed totally free transport - those who were completely physically paralysed and those with no legs!

The government has been forced to retreat to some extent, making concessions and apologising for the way they were implemented. Throwing blame onto the local authorities for the way the new 'law' was implemented has meant some of them, at least temporarily, re-introducing free transport.

It also opens the way for socialists and others to demand that local councils refuse to implement the cuts and demand more money from central government, as in Liverpool council's mass campaign in Britain in the 1980s.

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In The Socialist 26 February 2005:

Hands off our pensions

Pensions - force the government to retreat

Pensions: Our strength can stop this robbery

France: 24-hour general strike in the making

Russian pensioners put pressure on Putin

Fight low pay

Young workers: fight for your rights at work

Lecturers strike over pay

No to fire service cuts

Scottish Socialist Party conference report

Israeli/Palestinian conflict: A road to peace or to further conflict?


 

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