In the balmy Moscow summer, Russians danced through Sunday night to celebrate their national football team’s improbable passage to the World Cup quarter-finals, after a penalty shoot-out against Spain. The Russian authorities more broadly are basking in a championship that has been high quality, good natured, and given Russians a chance to mingle with foreigners that many have never had before. President Vladimir Putin has proved he can put on circuses for his people. Keeping the bread coming is proving trickier. Away from the Fifa World Cup host cities — where protests are banned — demonstrators rallied in 45 towns on Sunday against a rise in the pension age. In an attempt to "bury" the news, the measures were announced on the World Cup opening day. Retirement ages will rise for men from 60 to 65 by 2028, and for women from 55 to 63 by 2034. VAT is being raised from 18% to 20%. The pension age increase was arguably long overdue, reducing the need for budgetary transfers amounting t...

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