clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Alexander Shlemenko speaks out against Kremlin policy to raise retirement age in Russia

New, comments

The former Bellator middleweight champion expressed his discontent with the Kremlin’s new bill to raise Russia’s retirement age. 

MMA: Bellator 185-Uncasville-Mousasi vs Shlemenko Dave Mandel-USA TODAY Sports

On the opening day of the 2018 World Cup, Russia’s State Duma (lower legislative house) approved a bill that would raise the retirement age in Russia from 60 to 65 years for men and from 55 to 63 years for women.

The bill, which was buried amidst a euphoric month of World Cup celebrations, has since led to a wave of demonstrations across 30 Russian cities. Rallies were held in Moscow, where protestors waved banners and signs questioning the government’s decision. The ruling United Russia party has also seen its approval ratings drop to levels reminiscent of the anti-Kremlin protests in 2011. At the time, protestors rallied against Russian president Vladimir Putin’s third term as president.

Among those who disapprove of the Kremlin’s latest policy shift is MMA fighter Alexander Shlemenko, who spoke out against the State Duma’s pension plan.

“I do not support [the bill]. I think this is a bad initiative,” said Shlemenko. “Such a reform will cause discontent among the citizens of our country. In fact, people work so much, but pensions are small. And if you raise the retirement age, then what will it lead to?”

Apart from angering the Russian people, Shlemenko believes raising the retirement age is a short-sighted policy because many Russians will not live long enough to receive a pension.

“Many people do not live long enough for a pension,” Shlemenko explained. “If I’m not mistaken, about 43 percent of the male population does not live to see it now. Many are happy to retire to be with their grandchildren, etc. And if we raise the age, then we immediately have a lot of problems. Young families have no one to leave the child with. It will be hard for a young mother to get a job, because grandparents will later retire, because they will have to work harder. Plus, I once again say, the most important thing is that many people will not survive to retirement. Therefore, I can not and will not support such an initiative.”

According to the World Bank, approximately 57% of Russian men were expected to live past the age of 65.