On February 1 Russian pensions will be raised by 6%, leaving the basic pension at RUR 554 (USD 17.4). According to the RTR television channel this was announced by Head of the Russian State Pension Fund Mikhail Zurabov at an official meeting with President Vladimir Putin on Friday, January 24. The indexing of pensions always takes place if inflation over the previous six months totaled more than 6%. Mr Putin said that for the last six months inflation had only been at 5.6% and that 'the government does not actually have any formal obligation to index pensions but the income of the pension fund allows the government to do this.' Mr Zurabov said that pension indexation would go ahead on the basis of the pension fund's work in 2002.
A further increase of 11% is expected in April, although in reality pensions may increase by 12.5-12.6% according to Mr Zurabov. The total increase for February and April will be about RUR 150 (USD 4.7), making the average pension RUR 1,620 (USD 50.9).