The governmental bill on pensions, which rises retirement age limits, is "the most cruel and cynical of the last 25 years", said the Chairman of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) Gennady Zyuganov during a discussion at the Duma.
In a fierce speech against the anti-people reform proposed by the government, Zyuganov called President Vladimir Putin not to proceed with the pension reform but, instead, to fulfill his promise for improvement of the people's quality of life. "I am appealing to the president: 77% voted for you. But 91% are against this reform.'' said the CPRF Chairman.
Gennady Zyuganov, whose Party leads a nationwide campaign against the new reform, pointed out that billionaires and millionaires, oligarchs (the "sacred cow" which the government is afraid to "touch them") have accumulated 90% of the national wealth and increased their capital by $25 billion last year.
A week ago, talking to Interfax news agency, Zyuganov said that 5 million signatures have already been collected and that more people are expected to join the campaign, demaning a referendum over the proposed governmental bill. "The bill will not pass as it is, and even if it is adopted [by the parliament majority], it will be a pension default followed by a political default. This is unavoidable," he said. It is characteristic that due to the severely anti-people, anti-worker nature of the reform, opinion polls showing that the governing parties’ support had plummeted 12% in a few weeks, jeopardazing Vladimir Putin's own popularity.
In an effort to appease public anger over the increase of the retirement age limits, President Putin publicly noted that, in his opinion, the increase for women should also be five years instead of eight, as the current draft stipulates. If Putin’s amendments are passed in the final draft of the bill, women will officially retire at 60. The current draft bill proposes the increase of the age limits to 65 for men and 63 for women.
Preparations for the referendum could be completed and initiative groups could be gathered together by September 15, said Yury Afonin, deputy chair of the Russian Communist Party Central Committee and State Duma deputy. "The target date is September 15, considering that our protests are planned for September 22, and the second reading of the pension reform bill is due on September 24" he added. Also, it must be noted that large demonstrations have been scheduled on the 2nd of September.
Sources: Intefax / TASS / Russia Today.