Putin faces social unrest
In January, Russia experienced its first serious wave of social unrest since President Vladimir Putin came to power five years ago. Throughout the month, thousands of pensioners took to the streets to protest social reforms which replaced in-kind safety-net benefits (such as free public transportation and access to basic medicines) with cash payments. The in-kind benefits were of particular importance to millions of pensioners, whose monthly pensions often do not exceed $80.
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