Russia’s armed forces remain in a dismal financial state, according to a raft of figures released over the weekend. The Russian Defense Ministry press service said on October 30 that, as of October 27, the armed forces had received only 31 billion rubles out of some 80.4 billion allocated for defense in 1998. The overall debt of the Finance Ministry to the army, the press office said, now totals approximately 34 billion rubles. Despite recent efforts by the government, wage arrears to the Defense Ministry’s uniformed and civilian personnel total some 9 billion rubles.
Those numbers are unlikely to improve any time soon. The Defense Ministry’s press service also said on October 30 that the military leadership had sent a proposal to the government calling for a doubling of pay levels for both conscript soldiers and officers (Itar-Tass, October 30).
The situation with regard to weapons procurement is apparently no better. According to the Defense Ministry’s armaments chief, Colonel General Anatoly Sitnov, Russian government debts for the purchase of weaponry and the financing of military-technical research work now amount to some 18.36 billion rubles (Itar-Tass, October 27).
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