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June 17, 2011, 12:06 a.m. | Editorial — by Kyiv Post

Kyiv Post

President Viktor Yanukovych desrves lukewarm credit for a bold legislative move to increase the pension age. President Viktor Yanukovych’s government and ruling majority deserve lukewarm praise for adopting changes to the pension law on June 17 in a first (not yet final) reading.

Joining 187 lawmakers from the pro-presidential Party of Regions to support the bill were respectable numbers of lawmakers from other factions.

Officials said the hotly contested legislation will be adopted in a final vote in July.

While details were sketchy as this edition of the Kyiv Post went to press, it is believed that the proposed changes – while unpopular – are necessary to plug gaps in a flawed and under-funded pension system.

It is expected that the retirement for women will be gradually increased from 55 to 60 years of age.

This painful condition will certainly cost Yanukovych’s party votes in next year's parliamentary election, but it was necessary, according to economists.

If credit is to be given, Yanukovych deserves a bit for this bold move. Ultimately, however, he had little choice.

More thanks goes to the International Monetary Fund for refusing to unlock additional billion-dollar loan tranches that Yanukovych’s government needs to stay financially afloat unless the nation's leaders deliver on austerity measures.

Attention is, however, also greatly needed to stop the financial bleeding.

As Ukraine’s main creditor, the IMF should also set conditions that end massive corruption at the highest echelons of government.

These schemes appear to be robbing the nation’s riches at the expense of 45 million struggling citizens.

Impunity still reigns as the rich get richer and the poor remain mired at the bottom.

A government that allows cronies to get rich unfairly at the expense of principles of fairness, transparency and compassion is not deserving of international support.
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