Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 69

The accepted wisdom is that a candidate will need to win a minimum of 43 million votes to make it into the second round of the presidential election, and the Communist candidate is believed to have a strong advantage since most of Russia’s 37 million pensioners are expected to vote Communist. This fact alone is enough to explain the decrees signed yesterday by President Boris Yeltsin, ensuring the timely payment of old-age pension arrears and instructing his government to come up with ways of compensating those whose savings lost their value as a result of the high inflation Russia experienced in the first years of market reform.

It will be easier to pay the pensions arrears than to compensate lost savings. The government is to grant a six-month loan of 4 trillion rubles to the state pension fund and this should be enough to pay all pension arrears by the end of April. (Financial Times, April 9) Meanwhile, Yeltsin has given the government, the Central Bank, and the Russian Savings Bank three months to draft a program for the repayment of savings to those who lost their nest eggs, many of whom are elderly. Yeltsin has promised that repayment will start next year, but his aides admit that it could take "decades" to pay everyone back in full. (Interfax, April 8)

Registration Fees for Residence Ruled Unconstitutional.