CHECHNYA’S GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE REPAIRED AT THE STATE’S EXPENSE

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CHECHNYA’S GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE REPAIRED AT THE STATE’S EXPENSE

Izvestia, January 10, 2003, p. 2 EV

The State Construction Committee (Gosstroi) met yesterday to discuss repairs to the Chechen government buildings, damaged in a terrorist attack on December 27. The money for repairs will come from the reserve fund of the federal government. Private sources of funding are unlikely to be used, although many Chechen business owners are prepared to contribute toward the costs.

According to the Chechen government’s preliminary estimates, 116 million rubles will be required to repair the buildings. The final sum will be determined no earlier than January 20, once all the paperwork is complete. But we can already state with confidence that all of the money will come from the federal government’s reserve fund. A government commission meeting on January 5 raised the issue of seeking non-budget funding sources for restoring Chechnya’s socio-economic sphere.

Stanislav Ilyasov commented: “The Moscow city government and a number of regions from the Southern federal district are prepared to offer assistance to Chechnya… As for the private sector – it will not be involved in restoring the government buildings, and we have not viewed it as a possible source of funding. Only state sources of funding can be used in such matters. The source will be the government’s reserve fund, and the targeted program for restoring Chechnya. But some private individuals are assisting those injured in the terrorist attack.”

A PAY RISE FOR MILITARY PERSONNEL

Izvestia, January 10, 2003, p. 4 EV

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said at a meeting with President Putin on Wednesday that a plan for making the transition from conscription to contract military service will be presented to the president by the end of spring. In the meantime, military personnel are getting a 10% pay rise, as promised, from January 1. Pensions for retired military personnel are being raised correspondingly.

Skeptics claim that the January pay rise barely compensates for inflation, which was 15.1% last year, according to official figures. Optimists say that a further pay rise is planned for military personnel in 2003 – by 11%.

At yesterday’s meeting with the president, Ivanov said that the Russian Armed Forces have a total of 1.162 million personnel, as at January. But the latest edition of the Military Balance annual, published by the Strategic Research Institute in London, says that Russia has 988,000 military personnel.

Some analysts view the discrepancy of 200,000 as suspicious – assuming that these are “dead souls” used by the Defense Ministry as a pretext to claim extra funding to cover up its various shortfalls.

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