The World Cup kicks off today in Russia, and the rather weak home team has a chance for victory — they're up against Saudi Arabia — so the Kremlin has seized the moment to announce some painful economic reforms.

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Data: United Nations World Population Prospects; Map: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Why it matters: Russia's working-age population is projected to shrink by 20% between now and 2050, so the decision to raise retirement ages (from 60 to 65 for men by 2028; from 55 to 63 for women by 2034) seems sensible, though it's the first hike in modern Russian history, per Meduza. Meanwhile, Putin says fixing the economy and reducing poverty will be top priorities in his new six-year term. The decision to raise the value-added tax from 18% to 20% is expected to bring in $32 billion over that period.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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Mike Allen, author of AM
Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

The first Trump v. Biden presidential debate was a hot mess

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

This debate was like the country: Everybody’s talking. Nobody’s listening. Nothing is learned. It’s a mess.

  • We were told President Trump would be savage. Turned out, that was a gross understatement. Even the moderator, Fox News' Chris Wallace, got bulldozed.

Why it matters: Honestly, who the hell knows?

Pundits react to a chaotic debate: “What a dark event we just witnessed”

The first presidential debate between President Trump and Joe Biden in Cleveland on Tuesday night was a shouting match, punctuated by interruptions and hallmarked by name-calling.

Why it matters: If Trump aimed to make the debate as chaotic as possible with a torrent of disruptions, he succeeded. Pundits struggled to make sense of what they saw, and it's tough to imagine that the American people were able to either.