Putin and Medvedev stratify the army

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Prime Minister Vladimir Putin spoke about a need for material incentives for servicemen after President Dmitry Medvedev, who announced a significant increase of money allowances for separate categories of servicemen. At a meeting with the parliamentary faction of United Russia on June 29, Putin explained that he meant those “on whom the defense capability of the country really depends.” Putin said that these were the people “sitting in silos of the Strategic Missile Forces, at nuclear cruisers, in military units of permanent readiness.” He reminded that when he was the president, he instructed the Defense Minister to work out the relevant proposals. The Prime Minister remarked, “they have been worked out. We are creating a special fund in the form of bonuses to money allowances.” He reported that in 2009, the state would spend 25 billion rubles on this, in 2010 it would spend 33 billion rubles and in 2011 it would spend 45 billion rubles.

The Prime Minister concluded, “on average, money allowances will be increased to 65,000 rubles and for some categories they will be increased to 100,000-150,000 rubles and this is justified.”

In turn, State Secretary and Deputy Defense Minister Army General Nikolai Pankov explains that “this work will be accomplished very soon.” According to Pankov, afterwards the Defense Minister will issue a relevant order that regulates the mechanisms of incentives for officers. It is planned to establish a fund for payment of bonuses to money allowances of officers in the military units of permanent readiness, as well as for servicemen who participate in military voyages and tests of armament and military hardware.

Pankov said, “for example, we are working out criteria for the evaluation of labor of officers and algorithms of their incentives.”

These novelties were already taken by society somewhat ambiguously. Vyacheslav Popov, member of the Federation Council and chair of the maritime policy commission, reports that the increase of money allowances for servicemen will allow for the improvement of the staff of the Russian army. According to Popov, “economic capabilities of Russia allow for increasing money allowances of servicemen that should be on a very decent level. The time has come for a just appreciation of the contribution of servicemen to provision of security of the country. We have possibilities for attracting real professionals to military service.” According to Popov, “an increase of money allowances of servicemen to 100,000-150,000 rubles per month proposed by Putin is a decent step that will contribute to improvement of the situation in the Armed Forces and attraction of the best human resources to the Army and to the Navy.”

Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Yury Netkachev, advisor to the association for social protection of veterans of special forces Rus, is very cautious about the establishment of the fund for encouraging of military service. In his interview to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Netkachev said, “money allowances for officers of the central staff of the Defense Ministry were increased by a few hundreds of percents in 2005. Is service there more difficult than somewhere in Siberia? Now the so-called “elite” military units are separated into a well financed group. What about infantry, tank units and peacekeepers? These kinds of troops are the most numerous and they have participated and participate directly in the antiterrorist operations on the territory of the country and abroad. Does this mean that they will be financed according to the residual principle?”

Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, President of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, who has been director of the main department of international military cooperation in the Defense Ministry for a long time, disagrees with the reform of the system of payment for military labor carried out in the Defense Ministry.

Ivashov says, “high salaries only for the elite kind of troops will definitely add social tension both to the society and to the military garrisons directly.” Along with this, Ivashov points out with alarm that the establishment of the incentive fund of the Defense Ministry will not impact the material well-being of military pensioners because the basic salaries of officers will remain unchanged.

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