18 February 2019, Monday, 6:10
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The Power Is Like a Caricature of Santa Claus

41

One fell asleep being a pensioner and woke up an able-bodied.

One year ago, on the same December Friday, in the same column, I told the story of Anya Strotseva who was taking care of the disabled mother and was deprived of both nursing benefits and pensions in a moment. So, this was not the end of the story. The state even posed itself as Santa Claus on New Year's Eve, a sorry sight, as usual.

If you forgot or did not read, I briefly recall the story. Designer Anya Strotseva, mother of three children, took care of her disabled mother for more than eight years. Her mother was bed patient and Anya received a nursing benefit from the state with a record in her work book. It was her job. A hard one, without a day off, vacation, sick leaves and holidays. Last September Anya was 55 years old and her benefit was not paid anymore. In the Executive Committee she was denied a nursing benefit because she got retired and was considered unable to work. And Anya did not earn a labour pension, because taking care of a disabled person is not included in the insurance experience, so let her come for a social pension in five years.

When wondering about her disabled mother, these ladies were up a gum tree and hinted at poorhouse and said that she had three children to take care of her.

And then the New Year came. The drunk Santa Clause came wearing a red-green greasy dressing gown, waved his magic wand - and from January 1 Anya Strotseva suddenly again became able-bodied, but not the person of the retirement age. New Year's miracles, of course, happen, especially in our beloved country, where everything happens not by logic, but with the wave of a magic wand. And it turned out that Anya found herself in the meat grinder of New Year's pension miracles generously handed out by Santa Claus.

In September 2016, she was found disabled on the law on pensions of 1992, she was 55 years old. And on January 1, 2017, the retirement age was increased by six months, and her 55 years and 4 months Anya Strotseva was again below the retirement age. And in January and February - attention! - she was again paid the nursing benefit. And in March, Anya was 55 years and 6 months old, and she again became a pensioner, already under the new law. Twice unable to work. It sounds like an Order.

In July Anya's mother passed away. And shortly before that, in June, the pension legislation again faced amendments. Not to allegedly let Anya and those having similar problems find themselves in the pension trap. The state reduced the insurance record for those who take care of the disabled up to 10 years. Anya's insurance record was 11 and a half years, and last year she was sent home for this very reason. To obtain a pension, she was short of five years. But now, it would seem all the obstacles are eliminated, there is an experience. Not all noticed that the state lowered the length of insurance record for those taking care of disabled people, but increased the total length of service for 15 years.

Those who have cared for a disabled person should have a pension insurance record of 10 years, but the total length of service must equal to 35 years for women and 40 years for men. And Anya's total experience is 29 and a half years. So ladies in the Executive Committee once again said "Goodbye, Strotseva, you have not earned a penny in this life."

At the same time, they also cut back on her experience. Because in the 80s Anya Strotseva worked in Latvia. And although by law - no matter a new or an old one - work in those days was considered the experience at any point in the USSR, the Savetski District Executive Committee refused to recognize that Latvia was the part of the same-named union. And they did not like one of seals in the work record book. Because that firm closed down in the early 90s, without taking re-registration, the Executive Committee simply crossed out five years of experience.

By the way, this is another problem that will inevitably confront those who worked in the late eighties and early nineties in numerous companies, small firms, cooperatives and all kinds of OOO and ZAO. Many of them closed down without paper formalities, many owners escaped from the country or were imprisoned, or simply disappeared with all the documentation. Employees were doomed to look for a new job, but naturally they did not think about the future pension. And then they will be told that these years are not included in the pension insurance record, since the seal is suspicious and there is nothing in archives. However, how people can think about a pension; it will be a luck to survive until the next salary.

The state task is as clear as the multiplication table: social welfare officials are unofficially ordered to "cut" the length of service and to deprive as many people as possible of pensions. The legal chaos of the late USSR and early Belarus allows this. Because there is no money in the country, pensioners are an unbearable burden for the state. It can't handle with them.

- Does the state have no money? Anya Strotseva wonders. - Let them turn to me, I'll find money. I raised three children in different financial conditions, so I am good at saving and reasonable spending. There are tens of thousands of women like me. And we can teach the state to properly manage the economy. But it does not want to know it. It would prefer my children to support me. Ok. But only it lost three broad-minded, educated citizens with high social capital. After all, to help a mother who is left without a pension, they must earn well. So they left for different countries, where they will be in demand. The state does not understand even that not caring about disabled people and pensioners, it is deprived of the young.

Let this wondrous state with miracles that leave Kashpirovsky TV shows in the dust be blessed. Retired people go to bed on New Year's Eve, and wake up young and eager for labour achievements on January 1. The disabled people stand on their feet and rush for the morning run. And soon, it seems to me, the dead will rise to help us cope with this abomination. The living can't handle it so far.

Iryna Khalip specially for Charter97.org