Russia proposes raising retirement age, VAT

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's government is calling for the country's retirement age to be raised gradually and for a hike in the value-added tax.

The moves approved by the Cabinet on Thursday now will be sent to the parliament.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the age at which retirees can receive state pensions would be gradually raised over the next 15 years to 65 for men — up from the current 60 — and from 55 to 63 for women.

Alexei Kudrin, head of parliament's Russian Accounts Chamber, said the proposal to raise VAT to 20 percent from 18 percent "is connected with the fact that budget revenues are not rising, first of all due to the oil price drop."

The moves follow President Vladimir Putin's promise last month to improve Russia's economy.