THE ROBBING OF THE PEOPLE
The National-Bolsheviks who came to the reception room of the president’s administration and demanded to see president Putin had the following claim at the third place in their leaflet: “The robbing of the people through the monetization of the benefits.” “Only naïve people believe the tale about the evildoers Zurabov and Gref who got out of hand”, the nazbols wrote, “We know that nothing in the Russian Federation is made without your consent. With today’s oil prices the benefits could have easily been doubled and tripled instead of being cancelled.”
On my table I have a thick pile of papers written in a small, rather extremely small font, about two hundred pages. The title alone is so long, so purposely complex, that if you don’t know that this is the infamous law Number 122, you will not realize that this is about the monetisation of benefits. Here is how the title, put in bold font, sounds:
“The Federal Law of August 22nd 2004. Number 122-F3. ‘About the amendment of the legislative acts of the Russian Federation and the recognition of some legislative acts of the Russian federation as obsolete in relation to the adoption of the Federal Laws ‘About the amendment of the Federal Law ‘About the general principles of organization of the legislative (representative) and executive bodies of State power of the Russian federation subjects’ and ‘About the general principles of organization of the local self-government in the Russian Federation’ (with amendments on November 29th and December 21st, 29th and 30th 2004). Adopted by the State Duma on August 5th 2004. Approved by the federation Council on August 8th 2004.”
Then follows a disgustingly false preamble, so false that the famous Ministry of Truth from George Orwell’s novel “1984” comes to mind. Here is this masterpiece of Jesuit mockery, the preamble:
“The present Federal Law is adopted in order to protect the rights and freedoms of the Russian federation’s citizens on the base of a delimitation of functions between the federal bodies of State power of the Russian federation subjects. /…/
In the present Federal Law are also solved the missions of guaranteeing the constitutional principle of the equality of human and civil rights and freedoms, raising the material well-being of the citizens, guaranteeing the State’s economical security and bringing the system of the social protection of the citizens who use benefits and social guarantees and those who receive compensations, in conformity with the principle of delimitation of functions between the federal bodies of the State power, the bodies of the State power of the Russian Federation’s subjects and the bodies of local self-government, and also the principles of a State of Law with a socially oriented market economy.
During the transfer to a system of the citizens` social protection, based on the provisions of the present federal Law, the Russian federation subjects and the municipal formations must:
During the replacement of the benefits in kind by monetary compensations, introduce efficient legal mechanisms that guarantee the conservation and the possible augmentation of the level of social protection of the citizens, taking in account the specifics of their legal and property-related situation as well as other circumstances;
Realize the principle of support of the citizens` faith in the law and the actions of the State by way of keeping the stability of the legal regulation;
Present the citizens with the possibility, during a reasonable transition period, to adapt to the modifications brought into the legislation, in particular by means of establishing a temporary regulation of public relations;
Not to allow violations of the rights and freedoms of other individuals during the realization of the social rights and freedoms of the citizens.
The norms of the present federal law must be realized in accordance with the provisions fixed in the present preamble and cannot be used for the derogation of the human and civil rights and lawful interests.” Period.
This radiantly false preamble is followed by one hundred and fifty six articles of Number F3 122 that exactly oppose the good intentions expressed in the preamble. In other words that dramatically diminish the well being of the RF citizens. That diminish the level of the citizens’ social protection tragically, to zero; that trample the human and civil rights and lawful interests to the ground. The following humbly stands at the very end of this unbridled mockery: President of the Russian federation V. Putin, Moscow, Kremlin, August 22nd 2004, Number 122 F3.
What are these 156 articles about? They concern many aspects of the lives of various groups of citizens as well as such things as, for instance, the social support of children-orphans, the State support of cinematography, the ecology of Lake Baikal, the amendments in the law about the veterans, the law about the disabled people, amendments in the law “About fire security”, the law about the federal military courier, and hundreds of other things. In other words the law Number 122 is a real encyclopedia of Russian life. It is also a gloomy song of grief for those concerned by the law Number 122; and it concerns the overwhelming majority of Russian citizens. I am not writing a separate book about this refined sadist work; therefore I have to limit myself to certain observations. The most frequently encountered provisions in all 156 articles of the law are “to exclude the word ‘free’ ”, as well as “declare part such-and-such as obsolete”. Number F3 122 begins with Article one, which brings amendments to the RF Law of April 18th 1991 Number 1026-1 “About the police”. Thus, in order to understand Article one about the amendments in the Law “About the police”, a police officer will have to have before him the text of the law Number 1026-1 as well, otherwise he will not realize that he is being forced to pay what was once free and that many benefits are simply taken away from him by this laconic “declare as obsolete”. But he will not understand what he is being taken away. For instance the police officers are among other hings deprived of free use of public transport.
The fact that the first blow was made to the police, those who are called to protect the existing State order demonstrates the serene foolishness of those who siege in the Kremlin and in the White House. I doubt that they would have deprived their own security guards of benefits because they would get upset and turn on the people’s side in a critical situation. But apparently these gentlemen have faith in their inviolable divine nature and are not afraid.
Here it should be said that the little word “benefits” does not exactly, or even does not at all exactly, defines the nature of the rights that are being taken away from the RF citizens (because they were not taken away yet, the people got upset, got mad and came out on the streets with the help of the nazbols and communists). For a pensioner, for a handicapped person, for a police officer, for a veteran, the right to free use of public transport was only the realization not in the form of money of a part of his pension or his salary. Because the pension of the majority of citizens is so small that even by adding the real cost of public transport rides of a single citizen who used the benefits, we still get a meager amount. Therefore “benefits” did not mean “privileges” at all; it was a part of a salary, but expressed in kind, not in money. It seemed to the Kremlin who was reorganizing the society and the State according to the standards of, as they put it, “market economy”, that the time has come to put an end to the benefits, to these vestiges (as the Kremlin thinks) of the socialist system. And that the people are obedient enough; that they will accept it. If instead of the benefits the citizens would have been proposed a real compensation, more precisely, the cost of all the tickets that a citizen veteran, handicapped, pensioner, policeman, Chernobyl victim can use in a month and maybe even with a reserve for the inflation, then possibly nobody would have protested. But the greedy government, the pitiless developers Zurabov and Gref in over-expensive European suits (it is striking but both are extremely fashionable and thoroughly dressed individuals) have planned shabby compensations that do not cover 10% of the possible cost of public transport tickets. For convenience I am speaking here about public transport, preferring to narrow down the amount. Therefore the law Number 122 has caused a storm of emotions in the people and outrage unheard of in the usually submissive Russia. The power’s real criterion of benignancy or malignancy is its attitude towards the people. Does the power treat the popular masses as equals or does it treat them like weak and silly, whose interests can be overlooked? There is no doubt that these Putin’s guys in expensive suits and ties treat the popular masses with haughty scorn and fastidiousness. The law Number 122 is a detailed proof of it. It can be certainly used as evidence in court. After Gaydar’s shock therapy, law Number 122 is the second national tragedy and I am not exaggerating, I weight my words. A responsible power cannot allow a brutal fall in the standard of living of the majority of the population because the main tasks of any State power in the modern world is guaranteeing the citizens’ well-being and security. Shakespearian kings or the tyrant Peter I could have followed other, personal goals on the border of the XVII and XVIII centuries. Today, similar violence, let us say, the implantation of certain reforms that Zurabov and Putin judge necessary, are taboo for a responsible power. But the problem is that Putin’s group is irresponsible. And archaic. Despite their fashionable suits, their work methods make them people with an autocratic conscience. In the third volume of its “Politics” Aristotle has dedicated a short paragraph to the form of government that he called “paternalist”, in which the king governs his State in the same way in which a father governs his family. This form of government existed in Europe’s absolutist monarchies, but was gradually relegated to history’s archives, replaced by republican regimes or, if they were monarchist regimes, the power of the father-sovereign was brought to naught by the rights of the parliaments. In Russia the paternalist form of government lasted until 1917, but even after that the Bolsheviks, in the end, turned after a short period of revolutionary unruliness, again to paternalism with the mustached harsh father Stalin in its head. Putin and his people, whether they wear silk ties or service caps, are governing Russia in the former paternalist spirit. The tsars were as usual cruel fathers, beating up those who did not obey them. Stalin was like this. And Putin’s people are like this. They would not even think to ask the people if, for example, they want reforms or the law Number 122. After all, who asks little children? Cut back on their ration and that’s all. Like Aristotle said. Let them suffer a bit.
The National-Bolsheviks watched the preparation of the law Number 122. We received documents from the friendly State Duma deputy Viktor Alksnis back in spring 2004. We knew what was coming. When on July 2nd the State Duma was adopting law Number 122 in the first reading, the National-Bolsheviks managed to get inside the State Duma on the balcony for the journalists and spread leaflets in the hall, protesting against the law. At the same time another group of nazbols got on top of the Moscow Hotel and unfolded a banner: “The cancellation of benefits is a crime before the people!” It was not easy to do all that because the authorities were expecting protest actions and it was almost impossible to get inside the State Duma these days. On August 2nd 2004, before the adoption of law Number 122 was declared in the State Duma after the second reading, a group of 50 National-Bolsheviks peacefully arrived to the Health Ministry and “captured” some offices, including the office of the principal author of the Law about the monetization of benefits – the minister Zurabov. The National-Bolsheviks hung out flags, opened windows and the president’s portrait, removed from the wall, was thrown out (it was caught while it was falling by dozens of journalists’ lenses and got not only in the Russian, but also in the international press). The National-Bolsheviks held about two hours in the ministry besieged by “the forces of order”. During their arrest they were all brutally beaten. Subsequently on December 20th 2004 Moscow’s Tverskoy court sentenced the National-Bolsheviks Maxim Gromov, Anatoly Globa-Mikhailenko, Grigory Tishin, Sergey Ezhov, Anatoly Korshunski, Oleg Bespalov and Kirill Klenov, each to five years of detention. A bit later Moscow’s Municipal court reduced their sentences to 3 and 2,5 years. I will talk about the process of the seven National-Bolsheviks in the chapter “Resumption of political repressions in Russia”, here I only want to emphasize that the National-Bolsheviks stood up for popular interests. They stood up before the society could even grasp all the unjust and anti-popular nature of the Law about the monetization of benefits.
The law came into force from January 1st 2005, but the people really felt it only on January 11th, when the holidays passed. The awakening of the people in the morning of January 11th was not a happy one. Here is what the press wrote at that time. Nezavisimaya Gazeta on 01.12.05. The article “The Veterans Took Their Crutches” with the subtitle “The most unprotected levels of the population gave a hostile reception to the monetization of benefits”: “The Russian benefit holders who just finished to celebrate the holidays granted by the State Duma, only after they ended realized that they are already living in another country. Most of the Russians who, in the last years, had, for example, the right to free public transport, realized that the State that has promised them monetary compensations instead of free transportation, is not in a hurry to pay them. In the end the population ‘sobered up’ without even having the time to celebrate. The first to rebel were the pensioners living in Khimki, near Moscow. Monday, several hundreds of people, on the initiative of the local Pensioners’ Union blocked Leningradskoe road and demanded, ‘to be joined to the capital’, where the transport benefits were kept on the account of the local budget. In order to free the road, the law enforcing bodies had to intervene. /…/ Yesterday in the afternoon Moscow region’s official site published a comment on the Khimki events by the governor Boris Gromov. As it is told /…/ he pointed out that similar actions have also taken place in Dubna, Solnechnogorsk, Mitishi and Ramenski district. But only in Khimki did an unsanctioned meeting grow into a road blocking. In result for over two hours automobile traffic was paralyzed and air traffic was disrupted. /…/ As it was said in the press release, the fact that these meetings are well planned and prepared is suspicious. The governor emphasized that those who push the pensioners to commit such actions, as a rule do not participate themselves in these meetings and actions. /…/ Boris Gromov asked the citizens of the Moscow region not to yield to provocations next time. (According to other sources, Gromov accused the National-Bolsheviks of organizing the meeting of Khimki’s pensioners.)
The initiative of Moscow’s suburbs was on the same day supported in Russia’s other regions. In Almetyevsk (Tatarstan) about five thousand citizens came out on a meeting demanding to restore the free transport and cancel the one-hundred-percent fee for the residential services. This happened despite the declaration of the republic’s president Shaymiev that the budget has money for the monetization. The problem is worsened by Tatarstan’s transfer to a one-hundred-percent fee for residential services. /…/
In Ufa, over four thousand residents came out on a protest action organized by the local CPRF department.
Samara’s war and labor veterans as well as home front workers blocked one of the center’s main roads – Revolution Street- for two hours and held an unsanctioned meeting. The protest action was held under the leadership of the CPRF and the NBP. From January 1st the cost of a transport ticket in Samara has gone up by one ruble to reach 7 rubles. Former benefit holders are guaranteed the money equivalent of only 18 trips per month. Samara’s conductors and ticket collectors notice many attempts by the elderly passengers to refuse to pay their ticket. /…/ In Kaliningrad, for instance a security guard from whom the ticket collector of a city tramway demanded to pay his ticket, called his armed colleagues for help. In result the wagon and all the other tramways of that line stood 40 minutes on the tracks and charges were brought against the conductor Galina Omelchenko. The police officers referred to the order of the region’s police chief, major general Sergey Kirichenko, who demanded, ‘to immediately take measures for stopping any actions from transport employees towards police officers on duty’. /…/ The Baltic Navy officers were also put in a difficult situation. As the Baltic Navy commander, admiral Vladimir Valuyev, told Nezavisimaya Gazeta, the Navy has not received the promised money either. At the same time a significant part of the officers and warrant officers reside in Kaliningrad and serve in Baltiisk and the transport fare is now 40 rubles.
In the capital of Karachaevo-Cherkessia, Cherkessk, a veteran has beaten a female ticket collector with crutches, when she asked the old man to pay for his ticket on a tramway. /…/
In the Saratov region only federal benefit holders (170 000 people) met the New Year with the promised compensations. The authorities’ promise that until January 11th all benefit holders will not be thrown out of public transport was not held.
In the Sverdlov region, where the former system of benefits was extended until April 1st, already now benefit holders are denied free transport. /…/
The residents of the Volgogradsk region were also lucky: this region became one of the few, in which regional benefits remain in kind until June 1st 2005. /…/ In all, according to the data of the Department of the population’s social protection, there are 270 000 regional benefit holders in the region and 240 000 federal ones. If monetary compensation is introduced with 200 rubles to a labor veteran and 300 rubles to a home front worker, the Volgograd region alone will need 2,2 billion rubles for these payments. As for the project of the federal budget for 2005, it foresees 8 billion rubles for all the country’s regions as compensations.” The overview was prepared by the materials of Nezavisimaya Gazeta correspondents in the regions and shows the evil cruelty, savagery and complete irresponsibility of the Kremlin and all its ministers and of course, the president who put his signature under Law Number 122.
In Saint Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city, the situation turned out to be the most wrought up. I cite the site “NBP-info” on 01.17.05. “Saint Petersburg: third day of the demonstrations. The demands of the citizens: a meeting with Matvienko. Historical events are taking place in Saint Petersburg these days – practically, it is a new revolution. The authorities, afraid of the mass protest of the citizens headed by the recently formed coalition NBP-Yabloko-CPRF started to make concessions. The pensioners were given the possibility to travel for free. But the people want more: they demand to return all the taken benefits, let out all political prisoners from prisons, they demand Putin’s and Matvienko’s resignation. The chairman of the Saint Petersburg Committee on the administration’s social policy, Alexander Rzhanekov, who was beaten up by pensioners on a meeting, transmitted Valentina Matvienko’s proposal to meet the representatives of the demonstrators. The leaders of the city’s departments of NBP, Yabloko and CPRF worked out rather radical demands to the municipal authorities (reflecting the attitude of the demonstrators) and tomorrow at noon will present them to the governor when they will meet her personally. In case they are not fulfilled mass protest actions with the blocking of downtown will continue. The demands of the citizens who took part in the 01.14-16.05 protest actions in Saint Petersburg. There are ten demands: 1. Withheld the action of Law Number 122 on the territory of Saint Petersburg and prepare a legislative initiative to cancel this law, as violating the RF constitution. 2. Prepare and adopt a resolution to restore the earlier existing transport benefits for all categories of citizens. /…/ 4. Adopt a resolution to keep the benefits on suburb transport. /…/ Restore the telephone benefits for all categories of citizens who used these benefits before. /…/ 6. Introduce a legislative initiative to increase the basic pension from 650 to 3000 rubles. 7. Introduce an initiative to make the 2005 budget law in accordance with the budget code in the part about the distribution of the budget between the federal center and the regions in a 50/50 proportion. /…/ And finally, point 9. The governor must inform the federal power and the public about the position of the protesters about the necessity to revise the sentence to the NBP members who captured Zurabov’s office; the removal of the unfounded accusations in violent seizure of power for the capture of the president’s administration by NBP members since the young activists expressed the lawful demands of the citizens. Signed by: V. I. Fedorov, first CPRF secretary of Saint Petersburg, M. Reznik, chairman of Saint Petersburg’s Yabloko, A. Dmitriev, chairman of Saint Petersburg’s NBP, O. Kurnosova, secretary of the Civil Union, E. Kozlov, chairman of the Committee of United Actions, G. Belkova, co-chairman of the Movement of Civil Initiatives.”
Let us examine carefully, which benefits were taken away from the main categories of citizens.
Which benefits were taken away from the veterans:
The new legislation defining the measures of social support to the veterans lacks the reminder that they can have tax benefits. The right to establish the benefits for the residential services was transferred by the federal authorities to the regional ones. The new law about the veterans lacks the reminder of their right to credits for acquiring apartments, houses and garden lots. War veterans are left without the right to free telephone installation and the 50% payment of the telephone, radio and collective TV antenna. Single war invalids and blockade veterans are now left without the right to a 50% reduction of security service. War veterans can use free tickets to sanatoriums not more than once a year and only on medical prescription. They now do not have the possibility to receive monetary compensations once in two years if they do not receive the tickets. The veterans are left without the right to a free car and the possibility to receive compensations for gas and technical service or a compensation for transport services.
The monetization of benefits for the handicapped:
The State freed itself from the responsibility to assist the citizens who support individuals needing constant care. Now the list of the social services for the elderly or the handicapped will be defined by the regional authorities and not the federal ones. The handicapped have lost the right to free specialized help, including dental help. The necessity to take in account the opinion of organizations of handicapped during the construction of buildings is removed. The quota for employing handicapped people is established for organizations that have over 100 employees and not 30 like before. The demand that the handicapped receive household items and other means necessary for social adaptation for free is removed. Not only the handicapped, but also the people who accompany them are left without the right to free or reduced-cost public transportation.
Which main benefits are taken away from the military and FSB employees:
The right to free transportation on all public transport is removed. The military, military pensioners and family members are left without the right to acquire products at reduced cost through the network of military trade. Monetary compensations instead of the food and uniform rations will not be defined by their cost. The method of granting loans for first necessity items is changed. Now the loans are defined by the government. The military of the permanent readiness units will not demand additional leisure time that compensates their service on top of their weekly service time. The military doing their service in conflict zones, including in Chechnya have lost the right to 15 additional days to their annual vacation and to 10 days for each 3 months of service in state of emergency and armed conflicts. The right of the militaries doing their service in conflict zones to receive a monetary compensation instead of a ticket to a sanatorium has been removed. Earlier the difference between the cost of keeping the children of the military in pre-school institutions and the amount the parents paid was compensated. Now they receive payments established by the Minister of defense. Medical help to family members of officers will not be free now, but defined by the government. From now on the military and their families will be only provided with a residence, which they will not be able to privatize. There will be no 75-100% subsidies for residences that the military that have served for over 10 years could acquire by joining a cooperative or building a house themselves. Besides the local authorities do not have to provide the military with the opportunity to join cooperatives or provide them with land for construction. The citizens who became handicapped during their service are left without the right to receive a credit for the construction of a house and acquire household items. The military who served for over 10-15 years are left without the right to free land lots and those who served over 20 years are left without the right to be freed from local taxes.
Which benefits were taken away from the students and teachers.
The students studying in middle or specialized professional institutions:
1. The students are left without the right to a reduced fare in public transport, food and sanatorium care. The laws about the social support to students are far less clear now. The State declined its responsibility to allocate sums for socio-cultural activities to education institutions.
2. The law now lacks even the reminder of the students’ right to free railroad transportation once a year.
3. The students of non-governmental institutions are denied of all the benefits, which were used by students of governmental institutions. The local authorities establish the amount of social guarantees for the students.
4. The State relieved itself from the responsibility to “totally compensate the inflation growth of expenses for the food and health of the students.”
5. The mention about a special system of crediting in the form of a personal social educational credit, which is created for the organization of the social support of students who study in institutions of professional and middle education has disappeared from the law on education.
6. The State relieved itself from the responsibility to put quotas on work posts in enterprises for graduates of educational institutions.
7. Enterprises, institutions and organizations whose employees go to school are not freed from taxes on the amount that they spend on these employees.
Which benefits were taken away from the students:
1. The State refused to compensate the expenses for education in non-governmental general education institutions.
2. The obligation to finance special (correctional) educational institutions for children and teenagers with deficits was removed. The same fate occurred to the educational institutions for children with exceptional capacities.
Which benefits were taken away from the teachers:
1. The State decided to relieve itself from the responsibilities, which it actually never fulfilled, in relation to the teachers’ salary. Their minimal wage rates should have exceeded the level of the average salary in Russia and the average wage rate should have exceeded the average salary in the industry. Also, the mention that the minimal wage rates for pedagogic employees from higher education institutions should not be lower than 8 times the minimal salary and the necessity to index them at each quarter were removed.
2. The monthly monetary compensation for buying books and periodicals of 150 rubles for university teachers and 100 rubles for other teachers is kept only for the employees of federal educational institutions. It is the local authorities who decide if they will give this compensation to others and how much. Besides, now these payments are taxable.
3. From now on the benefits foreseen for agriculture specialists do not concern teachers of schools situated far from municipal centers.
4. The graduates of pedagogic colleges who arrive to rural areas for work cannot count on subsidies for acquiring household items.
5. The workers of educational and scientific laboratories are left
without the benefits established for the employees of the corresponding harmful production.
Because of the lack of space it is impossible to enumerate all the losses suffered by various groups of citizens in accordance with the Law Number 122.
Scared by the benefit revolts the Kremlin and regional authorities quickly slowed down the monetization process. In some regions (for example in the Krasnoyarsk region) they postponed the monetization until 2006. The same happened in the Khanti-Mansiisky autonomous region. In other regions the monetization was frozen. In the Chelyabinsk region all the benefits were kept in their totality. In Primorie free transportation for benefit holders was kept. In the Kemerevo region the governor Tuleyev restored free transportation for pensioners. In Penza reduced transportation fare for pensioners was restored. In the Vladimir region war laborers and labor veterans will pay only 20 rubles per month for using the train. In Bashkiria the amount of compensation for the transportation expenses was doubled. And so forth.
On 01.18.05 Kommersant published the account of journalist Andrey Kolesnikov about the meeting of president Putin with the government, in particular minister Zurabov was there. The report is called “The Guarantor of Monetization” with the subtitle “The president forgave the ministers for the cancellation of benefits”. I will cite here only the last part of the report: “Vladimir Putin finally said that he would like to speak about the question ‘formulated before the New Year and is put in force from January 1st’. The president said that he would like to speak about the motives of the decision about the monetization of benefits (i.e. apparently he wanted to say that it was his decision), although he has already explained them many times and also how this decision is put in practice. Back in the USSR the system of benefits existed and functioned efficiently, in his view. And here is why.
– Only a small part of the country’s population was eligible for benefits, said he. After the fall of the USSR problems with the economy and the social sphere began (apparently there weren’t any before the fall. – A. K.)… And the State covered its failure in the sphere of economy with benefits, fulfilling its obligations only partially, what’s more. Now the government must be ready to criticism from left and right wing parties who, on one hand were creating an oligarchic system of capitalism in Russia and allowed Russia’s national resources to be robbed away, and on the other – were adopting popular but absolutely unfeasible decisions or contributed to their adoption, the president continued.
This way he wanted to hint to the critics of the ‘benefit’ reforms at the direction of the principal blow. Since there is no right-wing party in politics today, it is the communists who participate in what happens in the streets. I have to admit that this was rather provocative even for me, a person who does not react to the most extreme demonstrations of political cynicism.
– In result, the president told, – over 50% of the country’s population was listed in the category of benefit holders. And the other half had to pay for these benefits. In cities, the number of citizens who use public transport for free exceeded the number of honest workers. At the same time the quality of the service was decreased and the tariffs increased. Everybody was unhappy with that – both the benefit holders and those who supported them. So the motives of the decision taken by the State Duma and the government are clear! – The president suddenly declared.
I.e. he did not dare to publicly bear the responsibility of this decision!
Nonetheless Vladimir Putin considers this decision as principally right. But:
– Both the government and the leaders of the regions did not fulfill their tasks to the end: not to worsen the situation of those who need the State’s help.
But here the president quickly came to rescue the government and the leaders of regions:
– There are decisions that help to maintain social justice. Among them is providing a single transport document for an amount that does not exceed the amount of a minimal compensation.
Mister Putin comforted even those who did not even think about using public transportation: – You can decide not to buy a ticket and leave the money for yourself, was the president’s friendly advice…
Vladimir Putin is ready to bear responsibility for only one personal decision: index the pension not for 100 rubles and not from April 2005, like the government wanted, but for 200 and from March 1st: – in order to finally solve the transport problem, – finished the president, visibly satisfied.
Mikhail Zurabov /…/ said /…/ that the indexation can make up 240 rubles, in his opinion. He said that in fact everything is not so bad. Over a million passengers took the suburb train for free during the two weeks from the beginning of the year. There is only one difference with what was before January 1st 2005: – the citizens got used to take the train without any kind of tickets, disapprovingly said Zurabov, – but now they will have to go to the cashier and get a free ticket.”
The best comment, concluding this subject will consist of these two materials:
One is called “The social package for federal benefit holders”. The text: “What is a social package? It is a set of social services. It consists of:
Reduced fare for suburb trains;
Free drugs in the drugstore;
Medical treatment in a sanatorium (on the doctor’s order) – one ticket once per four year.
The cost of a social package is 40 rubles per month. From 2006 the benefit holders can refuse the social package or some part of it. For this they have to make a declaration to a pension fund until October 1st 2005. And thus, from 2006 you will receive money instead of the social package.”