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Russians protest over moves to raise retirement age

Changes would see the threshold rise from 60 to 65 for men and 55 to 63 for women.

Russians are mounting protests against plans to raise the retirement age, in a rare challenge to President Vladimir Putin’s leadership.

The State Duma on Thursday approved a bill that would raise the age at which senior citizens can receive state pensions from 60 to 65 for men, and from 55 to 63 for women.

The rise would occur in stages over the next 15 years.

Protesters make their point outside the State Duma (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

Activists from both Communist and pro-free market parties held demonstrations ahead of the vote, reflecting the unusually broad resistance to the pension reform.

Several arrests were reported at an unauthorised rally in St. Petersburg on Wednesday.

The government argues that Russia needs pension reform to boost economic growth, but Mr Putin’s approval rating slipped after the announcement.

Activist Sergey Udaltsov holds a poster reading Raising The Retirement Age Is Genocide! (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

The government was criticised for announcing the move on the day of the grandiose opening of the Russia-hosted World Cup.

However, the bill faced little resistance in the lower house of parliament, where pro-Kremlin parties dominate.

It passed in the first reading 327-102 with one abstention, and will now go into two months of further discussion before a second reading, according to Russian news agencies.

The bill also includes marginal increases to the pension payments.

The average current pension is 14,000 rubles (£177) a month.

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