This article provides a brief comparison of the politics of old-age pension reform in two post-communist countries, Latvia and the Russian Federation. As Soviet successor states, both countries inherited similar pension systems from the former Communist system, a system which although comprehensive, proved to be costly and inefficient in the 1990s. In addition, pension reform proved to be politically unpopular in both countries. Yet Latvia has succeeded in adopting a relatively rapid and thorough pension reform, while in Russia efforts at pension reform were more contentious. The article examines the political factors that influenced the dynamics of reform in the two countries. In particular, Latvia's greater international orientation was important in influencing its government's commitment to pursue pension reform; Latvia's elites saw long-term benefits for sovereignty and national identity from pursuing reforms inspired by international influences, whereas Russian leaders tended to perceive few advantages from western-oriented reforms.

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Keywords democratization, Latvia, old-age pensions, post-communist politics, Russian Federation
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Journal Global Social Policy
Chandler, A. (2001). Globalization, Social Welfare Reform and Democratic Identity in Russia and other Post-communist Countries. Global Social Policy, 1(3), 310–337. doi:10.1177/146801810100100303