The police detained Alexei Nawalny, the Russian opposition leader, outside his home in Moscow on Saturday in a move that, according to his supporters, should prevent him from provoking nationwide protests against unpopular government plans to increase national retirement age [196592002ArrymanKiraYarmyshsaysthe42-year-oldKremlinKritikerseiwegeneinesvermutetengebrochenenFingerskurzimKrankenhausbehandeltwordenEswirdvermutetdasserbeiseinerFestnahmeverletztwurdeDiePolizeisagtedassermitseinerOrganisationeinerKundgebungderOppositionam28JanuarinMoskauinVerbindungstehtErwirdinGewahrsambleibenbevoreramMontagvorGerichterscheinenwird
proponents of Navalny claimed that the real reason for his arrest was his demand that Russians should go on September 9 to the streets to protest against proposed legislation that would raise the age at which citizens from 60 can receive a state pension 65 for Mae men and 55 to 63 for women. The average monthly pension in Russia is 13,342 rubles (1965900). "Navalny, who wanted to see his family in shorts and slippers in the countryside, was arrested by five riot police," Yarmysh wrote on Twitter. "And all under the pretext of the protests of January 28. Just to hinder him before September 9. Can you imagine other cowardly authorities?"
President Vladimir Putin promised in 2005 that he was the state pension age would never increase, and the government's plans have sparked a wide rage. Putin's approval ratings fell from 77% to 63% in the two weeks following the announcement of pension reform plans, according to state pollster VTSIOM.
A recent opinion poll by the Levada Center, an independent opinion polling agency based in Moscow, said that about 90% of Russians were against the plans, while 40% were ready to take part in street protests against them.
On August 3, an explosive device destroyed the entrance to the offices of the National Pension Fund in Kaluga, a city in western Russia. No one was injured in the early morning explosion.
The Moscow authorities routinely reject applications from Navalny and other opposition officials to hold protests in the center of the Russian capital. Representatives of Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said last week that they would not consider Navalny's request to hold a rally near the Kremlin on 9 September.
"We do not care about the mayor," a defiant Navalny said. "We have to go out on the street."
Nawalny was jailed several times for organizing unauthorized anti-Kremlin protests, most recently in May, when he was sentenced to 30 days after leading a demonstration in Moscow on the eve of Putin's inauguration of a fourth presidential term
Putin's reigning United Russia party instituted a legislative initiative on June 14, the opening day of the World Cup, to increase national retirement age and spread allegations of burying bad news. The legislation would usher in the first policy changes under the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.
Russia has one of the lowest retirement age in the world. However, the reforms are unpopular because many Russians fear that they will not live to claim their pension rights. While life expectancy increases, they remain low, especially for men whose average age is just 66 years.
The Kremlin admits that Putin is withdrawing his promise not to raise the retirement age, but an aging population is leaving him without alternative. According to government projections, in 2044 the number of pensioners could approach the number of employees and put pressure on the state budget.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the reforms were "inevitable and long overdue". Russian media said last week, citing government sources, that Putin could announce on Tuesday a reduction in planned reforms, but the Kremlin has not commented.