MINIMAL WAGES IN THE VOLGOGRAD REGION WILL BE RAISED

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MINIMAL WAGES IN THE VOLGOGRAD REGION WILL BE RAISED

Izvestia, May 11, 2000, p. 2

The Volgograd regional legislature has passed a local law “On minimal wages in the Volgograd region for 2000”. As of July 1, the minimal monthly wage is supposed to be no less than 80% of the subsistence minimum. Month by month, this wage is supposed to be raised, in order reach the subsistence minimum by December. (The subsistence minimum is 980 rubles a month in the Volgograd region). The federal minimal wage is stuck at 83.49 rubles a month (about $3).

The new regional law was at the center of some heated debates from the moment of its preparation. The question is whether organizations and enterprises can find enough money to raise minimal wages.

Sergei Rykov, Chairman of the regional Labor Committee: According to our information, 154,000 people in the Volgograd region are paid minimal wages of 83.49 rubles a month. Moreover, our representatives have discovered that at some organizations all the employees are allegedly paid this wage.

It does not take a genius to understand that making ends meet on this kind of money is plainly impossible nowadays. It means that administrations are trying to conceal the actual wages paid to their employees, in order to ease the burden of taxation. All this dual book-keeping will be unnecessary as soon as the minimal wages are officially raised.

Two years ago the minimal monthly wage was 17 per cent of the subsistence minimum. These days, it is about 9 per cent of the subsistence minimum, on average.

STAFF CUTS IN THE PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATION

Moskovsky Komsomolets, May 11, 2000, p. 2

The other day all senior officials of the presidential administration handed in their resignations; but most of them will probably retain their posts.

When Yeltsin was elected for his second term in office, there were 2,200 or so officials in the presidential administration. When Bordyuzha was promoted, their number was reduced to 1,800; but grew again to 2,000 when Bordyuzha was dismissed.

There are plans to reduce staff in the presidential administration by 10 per cent.

AN UPDATE ON MOVING THE PARLIAMENT TO ST. PETERSBURG

Moskovsky Komsomolets, May 11, 2000, p. 2

The question of moving the parliament from Moscow to St. Petersburg has split society into two camps, just like the proposal to bury Lenin did once; this is the opinion of Novgorod Governor Mikhail Prusak, who supports the move. Governor Leonid Gorbenko of Kaliningrad and Governor Oleg Korolev of Lipetsk share this opinion. Apparently, their stand on the matter is explained by purely geographic considerations. Those governors for whom getting to St. Petersburg is less time-consuming than getting to Moscow all support the idea.

Chairman of the Federation Council Yegor Stroyev has a different opinion.

Stroyev: The parliament should move to the Kremlin. The Supreme Soviet used the Great Kremlin Palace before 1991. That is where it belongs.

MEETING WITH MASKHADOV’S REPRESENTATIVE DENIED

Komsomolskaya Pravda, May 11, 2000, p. 2

A senior Russian officer, who insisted remaining anonymous, described the rumors of a recent meeting between Pavel Krasheninnikov and Kazbek Makhashev as “garbage”. The general quoted Defense Minister Igor Sergeev as saying the other day that the federal center did not plan any contacts with Aslan Maskhadov “unless all our terms were met: the Chechen side should recognize the Russian constitution, release hostages, and suspend hostilities.”

VICTORY DAY CELEBRATED IN RIGA

Komsomolskaya Pravda, May 11, 2000, p. 3

Yesterday Latvian police had to cope with street-signs on buildings along Brivibas Street, the central thoroughfare in Riga, being changed to read “Putina iela” (Putin Street).

The unknown people who changed the name of the street must have been acting on impulse in the wake of Victory Day celebrations in Riga. At least 150,000 people visited the monument to Soviet soldiers in the Latvian capital.

Even the Constitution Protection Bureau (Latvian counterpart of the Russian Federal Security Service) woke up and arrested Yuris Rechs, leader of the terrorist organization Perkonkrusts who had been hiding in forests for two years, on the eve of Victory Day. Officially, this day is not celebrated in Latvia. It was Rechs and his accomplices who tried on several occasions to blow up the monument to Soviet soldiers in Riga.

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