Russians unable to find jobsin the civilian sector are now joining up as mercenaries to fightin Tajikistan, Vechernii Saransk reported June 15. Manyof them are Afghan veterans, take drugs, or have criminal recordsas well. According to the paper, the "mercenaries"–kontraktnikiin the Russian phrase–and their commanders despise one another.Tajiks are also serving as hired kontraktniki in Tajikistan,NTV reported August 20. Their incentive: high pay. Such mercenariesare paid 800,000 rubles a month while Tajik school teachersearn only 50,000. From the point of view of Tajik commanders,such contract soldiers have a great advantage: their familiesreturn them to their units whenever the men desert. That is becausethe families are living on the young men’s pay.
Sometimes You Can’t Even Give Grenades Away.