Immigrants from Russia and the former Soviet Union will soon be receiving pensions from their home countries, just as American immigrants to Israel receive Social Security payments. The Russian immigrants won’t be getting as much as the average American, though; immigrants who came to Israel between 1972 and 1991 will receive 4,000 rubles per month, a sum that amounts to less than $100 per immigrant.
The deal to transfer the pension payments was worked out between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on the latter’s visit to Russia over the summer. According to a statement by the Russian Ministry of Labor, 106,000 Israelis of Russian descent are eligible to receive the payments, which will cost Russia about 5 billion rubles ($80 million) a year.
Although the measure passed in the Russian parliament, a number of politicians protested the move. Alexei Didenko, a Russian parliamentarian in the nationalist LDPR party, was among the protesters, claiming that “Russian pensioners will not be happy, as they will not understand why there is a need to transfer Russian money to Israelis. It’s only $100 a month anyway; the pensioners don’t need that money.”
Similarly, Oleg Nilov of the Fair Russia party decried the program, saying that “if we are sending them money we need to include a section in the law that requires Israel to deport immigrants who have committed crimes in Russia back here for trial.”