Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has said that his government has bungled the implementation of social security reform, which had led to a week of protests by pensioners. Putin was meeting his cabinet for the first time since the protests began. Hesaid, “the government and the regions had not fulfilled the duty that we spoke about”. “We must not worsen the lives of those who need the state’s help”, he said.
The demonstrators had repeatedly called for Putin’s resignation over the changes, which they say were badly thought through. Pensioners, army veterans and the disabled had taken to the streets across Russia to complain about losing benefits like free medical care and subsidised housing. The reforms were designed to help modernise Russia’s sprawling social security system, which is seen as a hangover from Soviet times. Opposition parties had helped fuel the protests, even calling for a no-confidence vote against the government.