Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Vladimir Putin announced a pension increase Monday: an additional 200 rubles a month - or even "a little bit more" - will be paid to Russia's elderly beginning March 2005 (twice as much as originally planned and a month earlier).

Roman Abramovich, the governor of the Russian Chukotka region and the second richest man in Great Britain, is expected to sign a new 5-year contract with José Mourinho, the manager of Chelsea Football Club: Mourinho will be making £5 million a year (via sports.ru, in Russian).

200 rubles is $7.13; according to the 2002 Russian Census, there are 29.8 million people of retirement age in Russia; thus, the state will be spending an additional 71.5 billion rubles a year - or $2.5 billion, or £1.4 billion.

£5 million a year is $9.3 million, or 260,5 million rubles; thus, Abramovich is planning to be spending 21.7 million rubles a month on Chelsea's manager.

The bottomline: assuming my calculations are correct, if Abramovich chose to spend his football coach money on Russian pensioners, he'd only be able to give them 0.72 rubles a month - or $0.02, or £0.01. Totally pathetic, in general and compared to what Putin is offering.

Russia is a huge and weird country.

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