For Boris Lisitsyn, Russia's financial crisis means less meat, cheese and sausage — hardships the 86-year-old says won't kill him anytime soon.

But for him and the millions of pensioners who make up about a third of Russia's population, rising prices are also spurring anger over declining living standards, threatening a pool of support that President Vladimir Putin cannot afford to lose.

Russia's pensioners were once seen as "people we just needed to support," one government official said. But with women able to retire at 55 and men at 60, and health care improving, many are becoming more forceful in their demands.