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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Orders Pension Boost as Inflation Data Stokes Fear

President Vladimir Putin ordered a new pension hike Tuesday, increasing payouts for around 18 million people.

The Kremlin press service said Putin had signed into law amendments to pensions acts, but gave no details.

News agencies quoted Putin as saying the hike, to come into force on May 1, will raise the average pension to 1,013 rubles ($35) from 900 rubles.

Putin also ordered a rise in the average pension of 2,300-ruble pensions for some special groups, including World War II veterans and families of servicemen killed in action.

The planned rise comes amid concerns that inflation is rising rapidly, threatening recent economic growth.

Putin on Monday said that prices in the first quarter were twice as high as planned and were devouring budget revenues, needed to carry out structural reforms and repay foreign debt.

Russia owes some $40 billion in Soviet-era debt to the Paris Club of creditor nations.

The State Statistics Committee has said consumer prices rose 7.1 percent in the first quarter since the start of the year, compared with 4.1 percent in the first quarter of 2000.

Analysts say average annual inflation may rise to 20 percent instead of the 12 percent to 14 percent forecast by the government.