STAVROPOL TERRITORY, January 17, Caucasus Times – At five thousand, according to public organizations, people, largely pensioners rallied yesterday at the plaza to picket the local government office. The angry people gathered to protest recent benefits reforms by the Russian government. The protest meeting appeared to be the largest action in the Stavropol in the recent years, Caucasus Times correspondent reports.
The old people’s basic demand is to bring back the benefits system. The country’s pensioners since this year have to pay the fare for public transportation and other facilities. In return, as well the federal government as the local ones offered different compensations because the income of the major part of the Russia’s population is far lower of the living standards. As to the Stavropol authorities they offered the people just 50 rubles a month (less than $2) “to cover the costs” in public transportation, a lot less then in the neighboring Krasnodar and Rostov. The protesters speaking at the meeting said the sum of compensatory money the government vowed to pay was nothing but a cynical approach of the Russian authorities to the needs of people, who since now could not afford major facilities. The most helpless social sector of the population will have to face unbearable difficulties.
Spokesman for the governor’s office said that Mr. Chernogorov had already commented on the situation, saying the move of the Russian government was not completely prepared and the benefits reform had so many shortcomings. He underscored the importance of social security system in the country and that its overhaul should be carefully prepared and carried out, “besides, we should prevent embezzlement of the compensatory money,” Mr. Ghernogorov was quoted as saying.
Today the local government officials gathered at their extraordinary meeting to discuss the yesterday’s picket.