A Russian newspaper charged February 28 that funding shortages have left many Russian soldiers in rags and compelled others to capture and eat dogs to avoid malnutrition. According to Novaya gazeta, many units in the North Caucasus receive no money at all from Moscow, while sailors stationed in the Far Northern port of Murmansk are seriously undernourished. Some servicemen in Chechnya wear their own sneakers or rubber boots, the newspaper said, while others are without helmets and wear knit caps donated by Menatep bank. (9)
Early last month a deputy defense minister claimed that the army had received only 20 percent of the funds necessary to procure adequate food supplies and that, for this reason, its debts to suppliers amounted to 1 trillion rubles. He also said that the army had received only 26 percent of the funds it needed for the purchase of uniforms. (10) Another report from early February said that the army was allocating 8,735 rubles per day (less than $2) per soldier for rations, an amount insufficient to feed a healthy young man. That report first broke the story that hungry servicemen based in the Moscow region had been reduced to catching and eating dogs. (11)
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