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Thursday, 24 August, 2000, 23:40 GMT 00:40 UK
Putin raises military wages
President Putin saw at first hand the conditions in which officer's families live
This week President Putin saw at first hand the conditions in which officers' families live
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a 20% increase in the wages of the military and police, one day after promising to restore the strength of the armed forces.

Mr Putin's promise was made in a television broadcast intended as an answer to critics who had accused him of responding inadequately to the Kursk nuclear submarine tragedy.

A Kremlin spokeswoman said the pay increases, which will also affect prison guards, customs officials and the tax police, would take place from 1 December.

Earlier on Thursday Mr Putin had held a meeting with Finance Minister Aleksey Kudrin, at which they agreed to find further funds to tackle the "most urgent problems" of the armed forces.

Second jobs

Television footage of Mr Putin's visit to Murmansk on Wednesday revealed the poor standards of housing endured by navy families.

Some relatives of sailors on the Kursk had to borrow money to travel to Murmansk
Some relatives of sailors on the Kursk had to borrow money to travel to Murmansk
The president walked past walls whose paint was peeling off in large flakes.

According to the Defence Ministry, an average officer's wage is $70 per month.

Russia's economy has benefited this year from higher than expected oil prices and better figures for tax collection.

Mr Putin has already increased pensions this year, to an average of $32 per month.

In the wake of the Kursk disaster, some Russian newspapers contrasted the huge cost of military weaponry, with the pitiful wages received by servicemen.

Many are obliged to take second jobs in order to support their families, and police frequently demand bribes to supplement their salaries.

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See also:

24 Aug 00 | Media reports
Putin's address to the nation
23 Aug 00 | Europe
Russia's rusting navy
12 Aug 00 | Europe
Analysis: Russia's rocket row
16 Mar 00 | Europe
How Russia pays for the war
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