Cushioned for Life



Left to right: Protest by former Chornobyl cleanup workers over major reduction in social payments; Viacheslav Ovcharenko, recently appointed head of the Constituitonal Court; the close up is of his watch, estimated at $27 thousand

Ekonomichna Pravda has published details about social benefits and pensions in Ukraine which show that former MPs receive a pension 10.5 times higher than the average for the country.  A former judge’s pension is five times higher.  Thus a former teacher will receive just over 1100 UAH as against an ex-MP’s 15, 427 UAH.

When the pension reforms were just beginning, Prime Minister Azarov promised that excessive pensions would be cut.  EP points out that this promise was used to appease ordinary workers in the face of an increase in the retirement age.  Azarov said that the reduction would only affect those officials, judges and deputies who retired after the reforms came into effect.  The average pension for particularly affluent groups in society was thus supposed to decrease from year to year.  The latest statistics, however, show that on the contrary, the high-level pensions are continuing to rise.

In 2012 around 300 billion UAH went on social payments (pensions, other benefits).  The levels around the country are uneven, with much higher levels of people receiving social assistance per head of population in northern and eastern regions of the country.  This is explained by the higher number of pensioners in those regions, as well as benefits paid to former Chornobyl cleanup workers in northern oblasts.

One apparently anomaly is that the poorest regions of western Ukraine receive a smaller level of social assistance per head of population than eastern regions of Ukraine.

The pension issue is extremely immediate given the chronic deficit of the Pension Fund and ageing population. 

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