What next for Russia’s elderly care and pension reforms?

‘Elderly Care and Pension Reforms in Russia’ is a project that explores how reforms in these spheres could have significant impacts on inequalities in the country. The project resulted in a blog that consists a four-part interview series with Russian social and economic policy experts, and a report exploring how the 2018 pension reform could impact socio-economic inequalities. 

In autumn 2021, MA Russian Studies student Peter Taggart (Aleksanteri Institute) completed a project exploring questions of inequality arising from Russia’s recent reforms in the elderly care and pension spheres. The project was completed in fulfilment of the MA Russian Studies programme, and was conducted under the supervision of INEQ Director Meri Kulmala.

– The idea for this project came about while I was conducting the research for my Master’s thesis. I was analysing regional news and Vkontakte data to explore the extent to which nostalgia for the Soviet era of social provision was a motivating factor for Russians to protest against raising the retirement age in 2018, explains Peter.

Apart from expected points of contention about having to work longer in life, there were a lot of other aspects surrounding the pension reform ‘debate’, which Peter found especially interesting. There was a lot of discussion about how raising the retirement age would impact people outside the biggest cities particularly hard, and how it would affect not only people’s incomes, but also other family members, local healthcare systems, and so on.

– That’s really where the inspiration for this project came from. I was keen to explore some of these themes and more in greater detail outside my final thesis report. Having been taught by Meri Kulmala on the Russian Studies course on social and economic inequalities in Russia, I thought INEQ would be a good fit to undertake this project, Peter concludes.

The project contains interviews with Sarah Sokhey (Associate Professor, University of Colorado), Anna Tarasenko (Associate Professor, HSE; Visiting Researcher, University of Helsinki), Artur Holavins (Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Maastricht), and Konstantin Galkin (Russian Academy of Sciences).

More about the project and the interviews can be found on the project homepage.