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Getting By as a Pensioner in Moscow Isn't Easy (Photo Essay)

Pensioners seem to be a fixture of Russian life that always go by unnoticed, though they are seen at ticket booths, manning cloakrooms, selling fruit or working as building watchmen, janitors and cleaning ladies. It may seem that the elderly should be at home enjoying a well-earned rest, but many people in Russia continue to work past their retirement age, often taking on low-wage jobs to make up for inadequate pension payments.

Life as a pensioner can be tough. Results from a VTsIOM poll from 2010 show that 64 percent of Russians believed that retirement is a difficult period rather than a happy time and 77 percent of respondents did not think that they will have enough to live on when that time comes.

In July 2013, the average pension was 10,025 rubles ($305), according to provisional data provided by the State Statistics Service. Talks have been ongoing about reforming the pension system, but this has led to fears that it might result in a larger part of the population becoming ineligible to receive state funds. 

Our photographer Vladimir Filonov shares his photographs of their daily lives. 

A musician playing to passing commuters at Belorusskaya metro station. Vladimir Filonov / MT
Two neighbors meet in their yard. Vladimir Filonov / MT
A group of women crossing the street at the All-Russia Exhibition Center, where many of them sell food and clothing. Vladimir Filonov / MT
Vladimir Filonov / MT
At Kievskaya metro station, a woman selling knitted scarves. Vladimir Filonov / MT
Pensioners on the street are often seen using wheeled carts to transport their baggage. Vladimir Filonov / MT
Vladimir Filonov / MT
Getting some stretching done at Festival Park in the Marina Roshcha neighborhood. Vladimir Filonov / MT
Vladimir Filonov / MT

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