Order of the Defense Minister No. 200 making amendments to the size of monetary payments to servicemen and streamlining the structure of the normative base that regulates material condition of Russian servicemen came into effect on October 1. Some mass media hurried to pose this document as a kind of tractate radically changing material condition of servicemen. Some journalists decided that salaries of the servicemen would be increased from October 1. However, this is not so. The main financial department of the Defense Ministry explained in Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper, an official medium of the Defense Ministry, that order No. 200 only “has to optimize the normative legal acts of the Defense Ministry.” It “abolishes more than 50 earlier issued orders.” Thus, simply a new bureaucratic document has appeared that has nothing to do with what is really implied by radical raising of monetary allowances expected by Russian servicemen for so long.
Meanwhile, the order discloses a lot of interesting information about the Russian army to Russian society. There is a noticeable official division of salaries of the servicemen who serve in Moscow and in large cities and servicemen who serve in the provinces. For example, the order implies that salaries for service in special conditions make provisions that for service in the territory of Moscow and St. Petersburg a soldier is entitled to a 120% bonus and a general is entitled to a 115% bonus. An officer in Moscow also has a right to count on increase of salary by more than 50% for the purpose of compensation for transportation costs.
Those who are responsible for safekeeping military secrets in the army are entitled to a 15% bonus in case of a ten-year term of service, a contract serviceman reloading nuclear reactors is entitled to a bonus of 35% of his salary and a soldier in this position is entitled to 50 roubles. A captain commanding personnel is entitled to 300 roubles a month and a colonel is entitled to 500 roubles a month in addition to the salary.
According to the document, monthly salary of a contract serviceman on the primary post of soldier or sailor amounts to 1,276 roubles and 50 kopecks. Salary for the post of platoon commander amounts to 2,042 roubles and 40 kopecks, battalion commander – 2,553 roubles, division commander – 3,574 roubles and 20 kopecks and senior deputy defense minister – 5,629 roubles and 37 kopecks and a sniper may count on 1,404 roubles and 15 kopecks. Taking into account the payment for military rank an average salary in the Russian army, according to the Defense Ministry, amounts only to about 10,000 roubles a month. This is not much. If we bear in mind that wives of many officers, especially in remote garrisons, do not work, it turns out that many families of officers live below the poverty line.
Meanwhile, all these sums are mere trifles in comparison to payments to officers and generals in the central staff of the Defense Ministry, the so-called “Arbat Military District.” According to order No. 200, besides everything a senior deputy defense minister receives 10.5 salaries for military post every month. The same is determined for ordinary deputies, directors of services and commanders of branches of the Armed Forces. If we bear in mind that a salary for the post of the deputy defense minister and aforementioned officials amounts to 5,629 roubles and 37 kopecks, we will see that the overall monetary allowances to them including other components (food ration compensation, bonus for secrecy, difficulty of service etc) amount not less than to $3,500-4,000 a month.
In any case, these are monetary allowances of generals with a high rank. Generals of a lower rank and other officers earn less. Thus, for commanders of the main departments bonuses amount only to 5.5 of salary for the post. For director of a section the bonus amounts to 3.2 of a salary and for an ordinary officer of the central staff it amounts to 2.6 salaries. In any case, even these bonuses vary from 15,000 to 30,000 roubles a month on average.
Visiting the elite unit, the state flight testing center of the Defense Ministry, Victor Ozerov, chair of the defense and security committee of the Federation Council, announced, “I have seen how little test pilots earn there. This is a disgrace for the country and we will talk about this at a meeting with the President on October 19.”
Not very much time is left until October 19. However, the meeting of a Federation Council member with the President will hardly solve the problem. No provisions are made for radical increase of monetary allowances of servicemen in the budget for 2007.