Vladimir Putin’s administration in Russia intends to cover the burgeoning costs of annexing Crimea by raiding taxpayers’ pension contributions, raising utility rates, and canceling major infrastructure-development projects and reallocating funds.
The Kremlin has decided to spend its entire federal-budget “anti-crisis fund” on propping up Crimea’s governing apparatus and economy in 2014. The bulk of the fund comes from Russians’ 2014 retirement contributions, totaling 243 billion rubles (about $7 billion). These funds now will not be invested, but rather “borrowed” by the government. The money will not be returned to citizens’ individual retirement accounts; instead, contributors are set to receive “retirement points.” These points have a monetary value that remains unclear, and which appears vulnerable to arbitrary manipulation by officials in charge of Russia’s government-run Pension Fund.
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