On July 3rd, 2020, the Moscow City Duma held a meeting during which Deputy Yevgeny Stupin presented a draft of federal law on the abolition of pension reform. A video of his speech (in Russian) was posted on the YouTube channel “Совесть Некрасовки” (Сonscience of Nerkasovka). In his report, Mr. Stupin proposed to increase pension payments. He claimed that an average pension size in Russia is 19 thousand RUB (about 250 EUR)*, while in neighboring Latvia it is 77 thousand RUB (about 1000 EUR). Our research showed that this statement is false.
Mr. Stupin referred to the data provided by the website of the Pension Fund of the Russian Federation, but the information on Latvian pensions is not publicly available on the mentioned website. However, according to the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia, the average size of old-age pensions paid during the 2nd quarter of 2020 was 363 EUR. In terms of rubles, it was around 28 314 RUB.
The research presented in November 2020 by “Neatkarīgā Rīta Avīze”, one of the most influential newspapers in Latvia, shows that, according to the State Social Insurance Agency of the Republic of Latvia, almost 55% of Latvian pensioners are paid 300-500 EUR per month. The same statistics claim that 19% of the pensioners get 200-300 EUR, 15,9% – more than 500 EUR, and 10,5% – less than 200 EUR.
In recent years, the problem of low pensions is exacerbating due to the fact that Latvia takes second place among all EU countries where pensioners aged over 65 are at risk of poverty, according to the Eurostat research conducted in 2020. In 2019, the percentage of Latvian pensioners, who were at risk of poverty, has reached 54%. One of the sources of the problem is a lack of benefits for senior citizens. Starting 2021, the amount of pension exceeding 330 EUR is subject to income tax, which ranges from 20% to 31% depending on the annual income; for most pensioners it is 20% as their annual income is less than 20, 004 EUR. So, we are speaking about high taxes and one of the smallest old-age pensions in Europe.
Since Mr. Stupin did not respond to our letter, we were unable to find out where the figures from his report were actually taken from. However, the statistics provided by the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia, the State Social Insurance Agency of the Republic of Latvia, and Eurostat do not match the text of the speech. So we conclude this statement as false and claim that the actual average size of pensions in Latvia is more than two times lower than presented in Mr. Stupin’s report.
* Hereinafter we used the exchange rate presented as of June 2020 – 78 rubles per euro
RESEARCH | ARTICLE © Julia Bakaeva, Ksenia Golovina, Sofya Lischinska, Lobachevsky University, RU
Leave your comments, thoughts and suggestions in the box below. Take note: your response is moderated.