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Regular version of the site

Regular academic workshop “Active Ageing Policy and Pension Reforms: Russian and International Experience”


The Institute for Social Policy (ISP) at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics is hosting since 2019 a regular academic workshop “Active Ageing Policy and Pension Reforms: Russian and International Experience”

The workshop is to encourage academic and expert discussion on social policy development, aging population, active ageing, and pension reforms that are to be based on research and international experience.

The workshop favours an interdisciplinary approach and expects to bring together Russian and foreign experts in different fields such as economy, law, sociology, demography as well as decision-makers dealing with these issues. 

The workshop is to focus on three key topics:

(1) social and economic dimensions of aging population and active ageing;

(2) pension reform;

(3) social insurance and its improvement options.


Academic Leader – Oksana Sinyavskaya, Deputy Director of the Institute for Social Policy.

Project Coordinator – Olga Voron, Advisor to the Director of the Institute for Social Policy.


On October 24, 2019 the Institute for Social Policy at the National Research University Higher School of Economics held the eighth academic workshop devoted to the Reforming Pension System in Germanу. The event was organized in cooperation with the Embassy of Germany in Russia, the World Bank and German Friedrich Ebert Foundation Russia within the series of events under the topic “Active Ageing Policy and Pension Reforms: Russian and International Experience”.

Germany is the birthplace of pension insurance with a high level of pension provision, and as such, it has been guiding for many years the Russian pension system based on the principles of social insurance. At the same time, Germany faces, just like other developed countries, including Russia, the challenge of an ageing population, forcing to seek ways to reform its pension system. The workshop listened to two papers, one of which was devoted to the important issue related to changes occurring in the pension system (raising the retirement age, expanding private pension coverage, etc.) and their impact on socio-economic inequalities. The second paper was mostly focused on the pension formula, namely on the pension rights formation and the calculation of pensions within the framework of the point system (case of Germany) and the defined contribution system (existed in some format in Russia in 2002-2014) actively discussed while preparing the pension reform 2015 in Russia.



Prof. Dr. Simone SCHERGER, professor of social policy and life courses, SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy, University of Bremen, Germany)

The German Pension System: Problems, Reforms and Challenges from an Inequality Perspective

01 Scherger_HSE_24-10-2019_ENG_web (PDF, 1.31 Mb) 


Based on a discussion of the essential features of the German pension system and important related reforms in the last decades, the paper dealt with central challenges and problems of social security in old age in Germany. The inequality-related implications of the reforms of the statutory pension insurance, the expansion of private pension provision and the increase in statutory pension age took thus centre stage of the presentation. Furthermore, different perspectives on the question of how the costs of the imminent processes of (further) population ageing should be distributed (or could be reduced) were examined.


Mitchell WIENER, Senior Social Protection Specialist, World Bank

NDC and Points Systems: Are they Really so Different? The Case of Russia and Germany

02 Wiener_HSE_24-10-2019 ENG_web (PDF, 200 Kb) 


This presentation discussed a range of indexed career average approaches to calculating pension benefits, including the use of NDC and points systems. It compared and contrast the two approaches, show that NDC and points systems are often used to accomplished similar objectives, and that the benefit formula for one could be converted to the other under certain sets of circumstances. The discussion included specific aspects of the former Russian NDC system, the current Russian points system and the points system in Germany. 




, Deputy Director, Institute for Social Policy, Higher School of Economics




Sergey CHIRKOV, Deputy Chairman of the Board, Pension Fund of the Russian Federation 


Grigory DEGTYAREV, Leading Research Fellow, Semashko National Research Institute of Public Health


Yuri VORONIN, Chief Financial Commissioner, Director of the Center for Legal Support of Social and Economic Reforms, Institute of Legislation and Comparative Law under the Government of the Russian Federation



On October 8, 2019 the Institute for Social Policy at the National Research University Higher School of Economics held the seventh academic workshop devoted to the issues of access to medical and social services for the elderly population and their quality organized in cooperation with the World Bank and the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent Societies within the series of events under the topic “Active Ageing Policy and Pension Reforms: Russian and International Experience”.

Maintaining good health and high quality of life after the functional ability decline are the most difficult areas of the Russian active ageing policy. Global Age Watch Index reflecting the quality of life of elderly population gives Russia the 65th place in the ranking of 96 countries. And by the value of the health sub-index, the country's position is much lower – it is at the 86th place. At present moment, government programs on health promotion and active lifespan extension are being developed and set up. The programs include improving the provision of medical services, development of geriatric care, creation of a long-term care system, schools of healthy behavior and active leisure activities for the elderly population. The workshop presented results of a pilot qualitative case study on the access and quality of medical and social services for the elderly conducted in April 2019 in three Russian regions.



Susanna HAYRAPETYANProgram Leader, the World Bank

A Strategic Look at the Problems and Opportunities in the Field of Medical Care for the Elderly: International Experience 

01 Hayrapetyan WB_Moscow_08-10-2019 ENG (PDF, 1.76 Mb) 


Older people make up a growing proportion of the populations in many middle- and high-income countries, which presents new challenges for growth and development. Whereas the degree and pace vary by country, falling fertility rates and longer life expectancies mean there is a declining proportion of young people and an increasing proportion of the elderly. Such population aging has major economic implications and raises concerns about increased health care cost, the sustainability of pension system, and the availability of care services for the elderly.

In response, many countries are making efforts to ensure that older people live not only longer lives, but also healthier lives, implementing a policy of healthy aging, innovative models of medical and social care and improving long term care.

The presentation introduced the strategic view on aging and opportunities for strengthening medical and social services for elderly and present examples of international best practice of health and social services delivery for elderly people.


Elena SELEZNEVA, PhD in economics, Senior Research Fellow of the Institute for Social Policy, Higher School of Economics

Medical Services for Elderly People in Russia: Needs, Opportunities, Quality 

02-03 Selezneva-Sinyavskaya_08-10-2019_ENG (PDF, 473 Kb) 


The report presented the results of the sociological research carried out in spring 2019 in the Oryol region and in the Republics of Karelia and North Ossetia. The project included interviews and focus groups with the elderly, as well as interviews with different stakeholders of active ageing policy: relatives of the elderly, medical and social workers, health care and social service managers at different levels. Using the gathered data we analyzed the problems the elderly face when receiving medical and social services.

The study shows that in maintaining their health in old age Russian people primarily (and perhaps excessively) rely on non-medical measures such as social relations, good mood. Barriers to access to consultations of medical specialists, diagnostic tests and drugs for outpatient treatment for the elderly are detected. The study also indicated that there is a significant unmet demand for psychological assistance among Russians in old age. The interviews with medical and social workers revealed that regional health and social services systems are so far at the initial stage of constructing an integrated system for providing services for older people. Interaction of the systems does not go beyond organization of preventive events for the elderly (examinations, health schools) and occasional contacts of workers.


Oksana SINYAVSKAYA, PhD in economics, Deputy Director, Institute for Social Policy, Higher School of Economics

Prospects for Developing Social Services for Elderly People in Russia from the Standpoint of Potential Consumers of the Services 

02-03 Selezneva-Sinyavskaya_08-10-2019_ENG (PDF, 473 Kb) 


The study was also focused on issues of accessibility and quality of social services for the elderly.

Although older people do not want to burden children with their need for help, applying for the professional care has not yet become a routine. At the same time, the elderly people acknowledge that caring for seriously ill patients (bedridden) is a difficult job that neither relatives nor ordinary employees of social service organizations can handle without special training. The question of who can provide such services in the absence of a certified nurse service remains open to the public.

The results of both sample surveys and the qualitative research showed that the demand for social services of the Russian elderly is not fully satisfied. The population felt shortage in three types of services: social and psychological support for all the elderly, nurses for bedridden patients, and rehabilitation and treatment services. Reasons for the unmet demand for social services included: lack of information on social service centers; transaction costs: receiving social assistance requires the collection of a large number of documents and results of medical tests, which are not always possible to collect and submit; necessity to pay for social services according to the norms of the law FZ-442; spatial barrier – lack of special transport, remote location of social institutions.

The elderly are wary of social services that are being introduced. The most trusted provider is still public social service organizations.



Alexander MORDOVIN, Health Program Manager, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Discussion participants:



Irina KORCHAGINA, PhD in economics, Leading Analyst, Center for the Analysis of Income and Living Standards, Institute of Social Policy, Higher School of Economics


Elena GRISHINA, PhD in economics,Head of the Laboratory for Living Standards and Social Protection Research, Institute of Social Analysis and Forecasting, RANEPA


Elena TARASENKO,PhD in sociology, Researcher, National Research University Higher School of Economics

Yuri VORONIN, Center Director, Center for Legal Support of Social and Economic Reforms, Institute of Legislation and Comparative Law under the Government of the Russian Federation



On September 19, 2019 the Institute for Social Policy at HSE University held the sixth academic workshop devoted to to the French pension system, its current state, reforming and living standard of pensioners (Le système de retraite français : état actuel, projet de réforme et niveau de vie des retraités) within the series of events on Active Ageing Policy and Pension Reforms: Russian and International Experience. It was organized in cooperation with the Embassy of France in Russia and inaugurated by Lilia Ovcharova, Vice Rector of HSE, and Daniel Mathieu, Counsellor for Social Affairs, Embassy of France in Russia. 

The workshop focused on the pension system in France and the experience of its reformation. During the discussion was tackled the issues of the system’s tools of automatic adaptation to the changing demographic conditions, social solidarity support mechanisms, and measures aimed at establishing equal terms for the pension provision of various professional groups and the reduction of pensions’ gender gap. The Russian audience found particularly interesting the French experience in organizing a dialog and a cooperation between the government (administrative and political branches) carrying out the reforms, and its social partners and academic community within the framework of planning and implementing pension reform.


French Pension System, Organization and Gouvernance, Financial State, Proposed Reform

Le système de retraite français, organisation et gouvernance, situation financière, projet de réforme 

Pierre-Louis Bras, Président du Conseil d’Orientation des retraites (France)  

1_Diaporama_PL Bras_Colloque Moscou_09-19-2019_FR (PDF, 1.12 Mb) 

Le système de retraite français se caractérise par sa complexité, il est composé de 42 régimes. Les règles qui régissent ces régimes sont différentes même si elles convergent progressivement. La gouvernance de ce système est complexe. Certains régimes sont gérés par l’Etat, d’autres par les partenaires sociaux (représentants des employeurs et des salariés). Des institutions indépendantes (COR, CSR) contribuent au dialogue et à la surveillance du système. Les réformes  de fond sont élaborées au cœur de l’appareil exécutif sous le contrôle du parlement. Les organisations syndicales de salariés, souvent divisées et en concurrence entre elles,  pèsent sur ces réformes à la hauteur de leur capacité de mobilisation. Les contributions académiques contribuent au débat sur les retraites mais le pilotage du système se concentre au sein de la haute fonction publique française formée à l’Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA) à l’écart du monde académique.

Les dépenses du système de retraite public français représentent 13,8% du PIB soit un niveau élevé par rapport aux pays européens comparables. En projection, ce niveau de dépenses malgré la dégradation progressive du ratio cotisant/retraité devrait à législation constante se stabiliser voire diminuer. Cette stabilisation, fruit des réformes engagées depuis le début des années 1990, est le produit d’une diminution relative du montant des pensions par rapport aux salaires, diminution induite par l’indexation des pensions liquidées sur les prix.

Une réforme du système de retraite a été engagée par le Président Macron élu en 2017. Il s’agit d’unifier l’ensemble des régimes pour garantir l’équité entre les assurés quel que soit leur statut professionnel. La réforme s’organise autour du principe « un euro cotisé donne les mêmes droits quel que soit le statut ». Une concertation entre toutes les parties prenantes engagées depuis 2017 a abouti à un rapport présenté en Juillet 2019. Il sera possible en septembre 2019 d’esquisser un bilan d’étape de ce processus de réforme.
   Living Standards of Pensioners, Mechanisms for Solidarity and Equity Between Women and Men

Niveau de vie des retraités, dispositifs de solidarités et équité entre les femmes et les hommes au regard de la retraite

Anne Lavigne, responsable des études, secrétariat général du Conseil d’orientation des retraites (France) 

2_Diaporama_A Lavigne_Colloque Moscou_09-19-2019_FR (PDF, 1.91 Mb) 

En 2016, le niveau de vie moyen des retraités est supérieur d’environ  6 % à celui de l’ensemble de la population. Il est relativement stable depuis 1996, alors qu’il avait fortement progressé depuis 1970. Cette progression a permis de réduire le taux de pauvreté des retraités qui est sensiblement inférieur à celui de l’ensemble de la population depuis les années 1980.

La stabilité du niveau de vie moyen relatif des retraités sur la période récente peut cependant ne pas refléter le vécu individuel des retraités. Cette situation moyenne est affectée par un effet noria lié au renouvellement de la population des retraités : les nouvelles générations, dont les pensions sont en moyenne plus élevées, remplacent progressivement les générations les plus anciennes aux pensions plus faibles.

Au niveau individuel, les pensions ont connu au cours des 25 dernières années une érosion de leur pouvoir d’achat différente selon la génération, d’autant plus importante que leur pension est élevée. Cette érosion est largement imputable au mode d’indexation des pensions sur les prix, plutôt que sur les salaires, dans la plupart des régimes de retraite.

Les dispositifs de solidarité, qui viennent compléter les droits contributifs, jouent un rôle important dans le système de retraite français : en 2016, parmi les 268,9 milliards d’euros de prestations de droit direct versées par le système de retraite, près d’un cinquième serait attribuable aux dispositifs de solidarité. Parmi ces dispositifs, les minima de pensions permettent d’améliorer les taux de remplacement des retraités qui ont eu les carrières les moins favorables (carrières heurtées, faibles rémunérations). Les droits familiaux et conjugaux permettent également de réduire les écarts de pension de droit direct, et partant, les disparités de niveau de vie entre les femmes et les hommes.



Oxana Sinyavskaya, Deputy Director, Institute for Social Policy, Higher School of Economics

Discussion participants:


Ignat Ignatiev, Director of the Pension Department, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection


Evgeny Gontmakher, Coordinating Board Member, European Dialogue Expert Group, Professor, Higher School of Economics



On June 27, 2019 the Institute for Social Policy at the National Research University Higher School of Economics held the fifth academic workshop within the series of events under the topic “Active Ageing Policy and Pension Reforms: Russian and International Experience”. This one was devoted to the role of aging in transformation of economy and social institutions in Russia.

The Russian population is aging steadily. In the coming decades, the proportion of old people will increase even more, and the number of working-age population will shrink. What will be the effects of these processes for the future of the Russian economy? On the one hand, changing population age structure through the reduction in labor supply and decrease in labor productivity can cause economic stagnation. Moreover, it undermines the stability of public finances and social insurance programs, since the base for paying contributions is decreasing, while the pension rights, as well as the demand for health care and long-term care services, is increasing. On the other hand, aging can be not only a brake, but also a driver of economic development. After all, a growing group of older consumers may demand new products and services. For example, the increasing demand for home-care can create incentives for the development of industry related to “smart home” technologies, remote monitoring of people's health, etc. The deterioration of conditions of public pension system, provoked by aging, can give impetus to the development of private pension schemes. Moreover, thanks to the active ageing policies, the boundaries between active and inactive periods of life become less clear, and an increasing number of old people are becoming involved in economic or social activity. Which of these scenarios will be most likely to occur in the coming decades in Russia? How will the aging of the Russian population affect the dynamics of GDP, the prospects for the development of financial markets, the change in the flows of intergenerational transfers? What changes should be expected in the field of social policy?

The issues were presented in a moderated round-table format

Natalia AKINDINOVA, Director, Center of Development Institute,Higher School of Economics

She focused on the impact of ageing on macroeconomy.


Evgeniy YAKUSHEV, Executive Director, Pension and Actuarial Consulting Ltd

He focused on the impact of ageing on the financial market.




 Mikhail DENISENKO, Deputy Director, Institute of Demography, Higher School of Economics

He focused on the impact of ageing on intergenerational transfers.




 Oxana SINYAVSKAYA, Deputy Director, Institute for Social Policy, Higher School of Economics

She focued on ageing and challenges to social security (social insurancem social protection).




Ramaz AKHMETELI, CEO and the owner of the Company Yellow Cross, President of Russian Red Cross’s Charity foundation, member of Civic Council under the Russian Labor ministry, member of EAN

He focued on ageing and challenges to social care.




 Oxana SINYAVSKAYA, Deputy Director, Institute for Social Policy, Higher School of Economics






On May 23, 2019 the Institute for Social Policy at the National Research University Higher School of Economics held the fourth academic workshop devoted to Swiss social security system organized in cooperation with the Embassy of Switzerland in the Russian Federation within the series of events under the topic “Active Ageing Policy and Pension Reforms: Russian and International Experience”. 



The workshop opened by Lilia Ovcharova, Vice Rector of the HSE, heard a presentation by Mr. Yves Rossier, the Ambassador of Switzerland to the Russian Federation, on the topic “The Swiss Social Security : Improving the System to Face the Challenges of the Time” 

1 Presentation Vortrag an der HSE_Social Welfare 23-05-2019 (PDF, 1.97 Mb) 

Social expenditures have the highest priority among other public expenditures in Switzerland. The dependency ratio as well as life expectancy at age 65 are increasing in Switzerland as in other developed countries. The features of Swiss three-pillar pension system will be considered in the report. The first pillar of the system is a basic one and covers minimum needs of the entire population. The second pillar includes mandatory occupational pension insurance to maintain the accustomed standard of living of enable employees. The third one is voluntary and provides individual provident. The first pillar pensions are financed by workers’ current contributions (pay-as-you-go system), and the benefit size depends on previous position on labor market. Pension of the second pillar is calculated on basis of accumulated pension assets of (mandatory) insured persons. The third pillar pensions are accumulated on saving accounts or investment bank accounts or in the framework of the insurance product until the occurrence of a certain event (age, disability, death). In addition to pensions, the report systematizes the existing types of social insurance in Switzerland.




The workshop was moderated by Dr. Oksana Sinyavskaya, Deputy Director, Institute for Social Policy, Higher School of Economics




On April 25, 2019, the Institute for Social Policy at the National Research University Higher School of Economics held the third academic workshop devoted to searching the equilibrium between pension policy and ageing society organized in cooperation with the World Bank within the series of events under the topic “Active Ageing Policy and Pension Reforms: Russian and International Experience”.

Many countries in the world are facing the challenge of being able to provide their citizens with an adequate income in retirement. Demographic changes, volatile macroeconomic conditions, new technological revolution and evolving nature of jobs market are affecting how the people will be protected from the poverty in the future and whether they will be able to enjoy decent living standards and economic independence while ageing. The Russian Federation, who adopted a retirement age increase and a set of employment support policies last year stands among other countries, who are trying to keep the sustainability and adequacy of their pension systems. A workshop will investigate the policy experience of Scandinavian countries and Baltic States in this area.


Ole Beier Sørensen, Ph.D., Senior Partner at Beier Research (Denmark) - The politics of age: Policy responses to increasing longevity - and their dilemmas and trade offs 01 Sorensen April 25 2019 ENGL (PDF, 731 Kb) 


Longevity is increasing, fertility is decreasing, real interest rates are low, growth is sluggish and dependency ratios threaten to weigh down economies. The solitaire leaves us with four options – work longer, save more, accept lower pensions or pass substantial financial burdens to our children, grandchildren and their descendants. The latter policy – robbing the nursery and undermining the welfare of future generations - is hardly a sustainable option for the longer term. Therefore, the main message of a responsible policy strategy is simple and runs: “When we live longer, we need to work longer!”

Russia is not alone in having to face these difficulties. In his presentation the speaker will provide an overview of policies adopted in other countries, how they combine sticks, carrots and solidarity measures, and he will comment on some of the outcomes. He will then look more closely at a few country examples – among other his own country Denmark where the pension age is linked to longevity and is now on a rapid upward hike. This exercise will illustrate the great importance of non-pension policies and the great responsibility of the social partners and of local industrial relations in supporting and facilitating longer work lives.

Longevity is increasing, and generally we are adding healthy years to our lives. However, this does not apply for all. In fact, driven by differences in cultures, life-styles, habits, living conditions, working conditions, access to health care…. socio-economic disparities in this respect are increasing. This development raises new policy challenges to be addressed. Some EU countries are facing resistance to pension age policies and a call to return to old policies allowing widespread early retirement. However, returning to failed policies of the past is hardly a recommendable strategy. So therefore, the question remains: What does an appropriate and balanced response look like, and what lessons can Russia draw from its European peers?

Olga Rajevska, PhD, Researcher, Scientific Institute of Economics and Management, University of Latvia (Latvia) - Reforming the retirement age in the Baltic States  02 Rajevskaya April 25 2019 ENGL (PDF, 1.14 Mb) 


As contrasted with the situation in Russia, the old dependency ratio in the Baltic States was relatively high at the beginning of the 1990s already, and the need to raise the statutory retirement age to maintain the sustainability of pension systems was supported by a broad consensus of political forces. The demographic burden exacerbated due to both negative natural increase, and permanent negative net migration, particularly among the working-age population. The speedy adoption of laws to raise the retirement age was facilitated also by painful structural changes in the economy, reducing employment rates, and the economical crises in the 1990s and in this century.

Raising the retirement age in the Baltic countries took place in two waves. The first wave began in the mid-1990s and was part of fundamental pension reforms. Initially, Estonia and Lithuania planned to maintain a higher retirement age for men, while Latvia immediately aimed at an equal age for both sexes. This wave lasted about 10 years and was accomplished reaching the benchmark of 62-63 years of age. The second (ongoing) wave was announced as a part of austerity package in the aftermath of the crisis in 2010-2011. It will be completed by 2025–2026 when the statutory retirement age reaches 65 years for both sexes. Estonia is considering the possibility of linking the retirement age to the average life expectancy.

The possibility of early retirement was offered as the main mitigating measure; there are no special legislative measures for the protecting people in pre-retirement age. In recent years, largely with the financing from European structural funds, the state has been implementing projects in the field of life-long education and is trying to reverse the prejudices of employers regarding older workers.


Oksana Sinyavskaya, Deputy Director, Institute for Social Policy, Higher School of Economics

Discussion participants:

Zoran Anušić, Senior Economist, World Bank

Anton Tabakh, Chief Analyst, Expert-RA Agency, Associate Professor, Higher School of Economics

Dmitri Pomazkin, Actuary, Private Pension Fund Gazprombank-fond, leading expert, Institute for Social Policy, Higher School of Economics  05 Pomazkin April 25 2019 RUS (PDF, 703 Kb) 


On March 21, 2019, the Institute for Social Policy at the National Research University Higher School of Economics  held the second academic workshop devoted to the Future of the Pension Savings in Russia and in the World organized in cooperation with the World Bank within the series of events under the topic “Active Ageing Policy and Pension Reforms: Russian and International Experience”.

Over the past three decades, the attitude towards the funded principles of pensions financing has changed in the world and in Russia. It evolved from their idealization and perception as the only panacea for the aging population in the 1980s - 1990s to complete disappointment in their effectiveness and, as a result the crisis of 2008-2009, the cancellation of already initiated pension reforms, which introduced compulsory pension savings. It is clear now that, although the pension savings are also subject to the negative effects of aging, and do not serve as a tool for reducing informal employment or expanding pension coverage, they occupy an important place in the pension systems of many developed and developing countries where they complement the state pension schemes based on distributional financing principles. One of the relatively new approaches to organization of voluntary pension savings, which aims to expand the coverage of such programs, is the principle of auto-subscription or automatic registration. In line with this approach in Russia, the Central Bank of Russia and the Ministry of Finance are developing the concept of individual pension capital.

The workshop in the series of events under the topic “Active Ageing Policy and Pension Reforms: Russian and International Experience” discussed the role of pension savings in the contemporary pension systems with the focus on demographic and economic challenges, as well as the lessons, which the developing countries can learn from the countries that already apply the principles of auto-subscription in their voluntary funded pension schemes.


SERGEY BELYAKOV, President, Association of private pension funds (ANPF)   01 Belyakov_RUS_21-03-2019.pdf

Russian pension system framework and trends in socio-economic development

According to the Russian Federal State Statistic Service (Rosstat) data, the life expectancy in the Russian Federation can reach 73.25 years for males and 80.78 for females by 2035. At the same time, there is a continuing trend towards population aging, and the demographic dependency ratio is constantly growing. Decreasing the number of employees and growing the number of pensioners are of a global trend. The federal budget expenditures transferred to the Pension Fund of the Russian Federation annually increased are of 3.3 trillion rubles now, which correspond to 20% of the total federal budget expenditures, and will keep increasing according to experts’ estimates. To maintain pensions at the current level with their adjustments only by the inflation rate over the period 2024-2026 will require to increase the transfer from the federal budget to the Pension Fund of the Russian Federation of at least 5 trillion rubles. Under the population’s disposable income falling steadily down, the current pension system while trying to attempt 40% replacement rate will continue to generate poverty and a permanent shortage of insurance contributions to pay insurance pensions diverting federal budget resources in case the funded component of the pension scheme will not be reintroduced.

Dr. HEINZ RUDOLPH, Lead Financial Sector Economist, World Bank   2 Rudolf_EN_V2_21-03-2019.pdf

Pension Funds with Automatic Enrollment Schemes: Lessons for Emerging Economies

The presentation will cover main findings from the recently published research paper “Pension Funds with Automatic Enrollment Schemes : Lessons for Emerging Economies”. Since the introduction of the KiwiSaver scheme in New Zealand in 2006, several countries have implemented, or are in the process of implementing, voluntary funded pension systems with automatic enrollment features. Since most of the literature has focused on countries with the common law tradition, including the United Kingdom and the United States, this paper analyzes cases of countries with the civil code tradition, including Turkey, Poland, Chile, Brazil, and the Province of Quebec in Canada. This sample includes mostly emerging economies, with reforms at different stages. Although they are not a substitute for necessary parametric reforms, automatic enrollment schemes offer the possibility of improvements in future retirement income for a significant part of the labor force. The perspectives of the Russia Federation will be analyzed and based on these country experiences. This note stresses that the paternalistic approach of automatic enrollment schemes imposes a great degree of responsibility on governments and requires careful consideration of the design of the system, including the industrial organization of the pension fund industry and default investment strategies. Sufficient time and resources for preparing communication and educational campaigns has played a key role in achieving high rates of participation. 


OKSANA SINYAVSKAYADeputy Director, Institute for Social Policy, Higher School of Economics

Discussion participants:

EVGENIY YAKUSHEV, Executive director JSC NPF Safmar   04 Yakushev_RUS_21-03-2019.pdf

YURI VORONIN, Center Director, Center for Legal Support of Social and Economic Reforms, Institute of Legislation and Comparative Law under the Government of the Russian Federation



On February 28, 2019, the Institute for Social Policy at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics hosted the first edition focusing on social insurance development of the regular academic workshop “Active Ageing Policy and Pension Reforms: Russian and International Experience”.

The fate of Russian obligatory social insurance system is the permanent topic of the heated expert discussions and the object of various reforms. The most important aspects are pensionary insurance and obligatory health insurance. Nevertheless, no satisfactory result was reached in the improvement of insurant persons (which in one way or the other include the whole population of the country). The new changes that under discussion now are of a superficial character and, if we can judge by the knowledge accumulated over the last decades, will bring at best only short-term positive effect.

According to the report commissioned by the Center for Strategic Research, the obligatory social insurance system in Russia needs radical institutional (not fiscal or parametric) changes. The changes should reimagine the role of government and private agencies in the field of insurance. It is obvious that such changes need several years of preparation and discussion, both expert and public. That is the only way to make these changes socially, economically and politically effective.

The seminar heard the authors of the Obligatory Social Insurance: Ways to Reformation report


Evgeny Gontmakher, Coordinating Board Member, European Dialogue Expert Group, and Professor, Higher School of Economics

Obligatory Social Insurance System in Russia: From the Imitation To a Real Institution

There were many attempts to reform the social insurance system in Russian created in the early 1990s, but it is still one of the channels of budget, not insurance financing of social policy. The only way to turn this system into an effective institute is via its denationalization and its active involvement into the functioning of all subjects of the social life of the country. 


Alexander Safonov, Vice Rector of Academy of Labor and Social Relations

Reform of Social Insurance System: Main Macroeconomic and Institutional Challenges and Real Answers

The main problem with the reforms of social insurance in Russia is the lack on consistency, which could allow making decisions that take into consideration the most important factors influencing stability and sustainability of obligatory social insurance in middle- and long-term perspective. The majority of the fundamental innovations in the obligatory social policy were introduced with limited analysis of the country’s socio-economic development distinctions. They were based on the mechanical transfer of some other countries’ national cases. Those countries had different economic levels, different employment structures, and different sets of political and social institutes. That is why it is crucial to continue the discussion on the ways to develop obligatory social insurance. 


Yuri Voronin, Center Director, Center for Legal Support of Social and Economic Reforms, Institute of Legislation and Comparative Law under the Government of the Russian Federation

Concept Approaches to the Modernization of Compulsory Social Insurance in the Postindustrial Society

Today the Russian society has to choose an optimal model of social welfare, which will become a foundation for the country’s social development in the long-term. To make a long-term decision on the architecture and the principles of the functioning system, we have to examine all pros and cons of the three potential approaches to the system building-up (insurance, savings, and budget) and all possible options of the combined application of all three.



Oksana Sinyavskaya, Deputy Director, Institute for Social Policy, Higher School of Economics

  Discussion participant:

           Valentin Roik, Chief Research Fellow, All-Russian Scientific Research Institute for Labor, Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Russian Federation





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