A new military pay plan for Russian military officers reportedly increases the wages of junior officers. Unfortunately, the funds for this come from the pay benefits of the senior officers. Under the plan, reportedly developed by the Defense Ministry, senior officers just below the rank of general–colonels and lieutenant colonels — would lose such things as quarterly bonuses, holiday benefits, housing subsidies and the partial payment of pensions to those of retirement age who are still on active duty. These savings would then be added to the basic salaries of more junior officers. (Russian media, February 3)
Nothing has contributed to low military morale more than the chronic failure of the government to pay the armed forces their wages in a timely manner. Although it had been promised that these arrears would be cleared up by the end of last year, the Defense Ministry said that the 2.8 trillion rubles it received in December for this purpose was but one-quarter of the debt. With insufficient funds coming from the Finance Ministry, the Defense Ministry seems to have little choice but to take such "imaginative" steps to address this shortfall. However, these bonuses and subsidies have long been an expected part of military compensation. The new plan seems likely to do little more than shift the discontent rather than to alleviate it.
Moscow Escalates the Rhetoric.