Pensioners could find themselves being shipped off abroad where caring for them is cheaper, if an idea tabled at a United Russia discussion club gets off the drawing board.
“We have a choice,” United Russia’s Elmurod Rasulmukhamedov, founder of Russkoye Loto, president of the All-Russian Society for Nature Conservation and progenitor of the pensioner scheme, told magazine Ogonyok.
“Either we can permanently raise pensions, provide grants and funding to invest in program to support pensioners or we can in one step help them to move and thus save money and actually help people.
“So, by my calculations, on an average pension of 6,000 rubles you could live well in Latvia, Uzbekistan, Bulgaria or India, and on an income of 10,000 in Turkey or Egypt.
“I am very sorry I was not in on this discussion,” Valery Ryazansky, head of the Pensioners of Russia Union’s central managing presidium, told Ogonyok. “There is a fairly extensive history of mass resettlement in our country. Take the example of Salekhard, at the mouth of the Ob River in the north. Under Stalin they took prisoners there.
“Typically people were uoffloaded on an empty beach and the ship sailed off. I hope the party leaders will adopt other methods. In general, I am strongly against this,” he said.
Rasulmukhamedov warned it wouldn't be all play and no work. “Someone wouldn’t just be receiving a more comfortable living in a milder climate, they would also have a duty to spread the Russian language and right kind of Russian culture,” Rasulmukhamedov added.
The idea came up at a ruling party United Russia discussion club.
But not every United Russia member is keen on a mass exodus of the aged. Andrei Isayev, head of the State Duma Committee for Labor and Social Policy said that the idea was delusional, “we will not give our citizens to anyone,” he told Ogonyok.
Ryazansky warned that old people are prone to lose interest and die when displaced and that the best place for them is their home turf.