The Russian YouTube personality BadComedian recently reviewed a film starring the rapper Basta. The online critic, who typically confines himself to trashing films on the grounds of their own quality, spent the final third of this particular 45-minute review criticizing Basta for his politics. The rapper has publicly supported the Russian government’s pension reform proposal, which includes an unpopular increase in the country’s retirement age. Like Russia’s political leaders and federal TV anchors, Basta has framed the reforms as a difficult but necessary measure, telling those who disagree to “find themselves an economics textbook and a calculator.” BadComedian took up the challenge and tried to use statistics to prove that pension reform was unnecessary. The next day, Basta gave in to the YouTuber’s position and apologized for his political advocacy. However, there are serious flaws in BadComedian’s economic analysis. Meduza asked Maxim Buyev, an economist and leading administrator at Russia’s New Economic School, to analyze the video blogger’s misconceptions and explain why Russia’s pension system really does face a series of slow-acting but serious problems.



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