It’s a rare event—but Vladimir Putin has publicly backed down from one of his key policy planks in the face of plummeting approval ratings. The Russian president had ordered a raise in the nation’s retirement age from 55 to 63 for women and from 60 to 65 for men. After angry protests across Russia, Putin announced Wednesday that he was softened the policy—raising the age to just 60 for women, but the five-year rise for men remains in place. The issue has seen support for Putin fall to 64 percent from 80 percent, according to state pollster VTsIOM. In the past he promised the pension age would never be raised on his watch. “Women not only work but they also take care of the house and children and grandchildren. Their retirement age should not increase by more than that of men,” Putin said. He added that women with three or more children could retire even earlier.
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