Russia’s Defense Ministry, which has long complained of being the worst financed of the country’s "power ministries," made public some figures on September 17 that seemed to support its contention. According to the ministry’s information service, the regular armed forces received only 4.4 percent of their required funding in July, and 0 percent in August. The respective figures for Russia’s other power structures were as follows: the Interior Ministry — 96 percent in July and 5 percent in August; the Federal Border Guards Service — 100 percent in July and 95 percent in August; the Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information (FAPSI) — 95.4 percent in July and 74.4 percent in August; and the Federal Security Service — 100 percent in July and 90 percent in August.
The Defense Ministry blamed this "discriminatory financing" for the halting of Russian military reform, the atrocious conditions under which many servicemen and their families live, and the resultant growing number of protesters coming both from military families and Russia’s military trade unions. (Interfax, September 17) Indeed, the Defense Ministry’s unusually revealing public announcement comes on the eve of a protest action, scheduled for today, of servicemen and civilian Defense Ministry employees. Although they are forbidden by law to take part, regular army officers, embittered by the government’s failure to honor campaign promises to military personnel, are said to be strongly supportive of the protest action. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, September 14)
That same sentiment was also expressed by Russia’s defense minister. Igor Rodionov publicly embraced the protest action in remarks to reporters on September 12, telling them that for Defense Ministry workers "there’s no other way out." (Interfax, September 12) Last month Rodionov blasted the government for the defense portion of its draft 1997 State budget, and pointed with particular exasperation to the proliferation of "parallel armies" under the other power ministries, and their consumption of scarce budgetary resources. (See Monitor, August 26)
Lebed Complains of Government "Carping" at His Peacemaking.