Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

State's Wage Arrears Drop to $830M

Russian Deputy Finance Minister Viktor Khristenko said Thursday that the government began the year owing workers a total of 17.8 billion rubles ($830 million at Thursday's official rate).

But he said at a news briefing that only 4 billion rubles of that was owed to federal employees, including military personnel.

Khristenko said the government was making progress paying arrears and a total of 67 regions have successfully reduced unpaid wages by 1.85 billion rubles since Dec. 1, leaving six regions with no debt to workers as of Jan. 1.

But wage debt in 18 regions grew by about 200 million rubles last month.

Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov ordered Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov to meet leaders of regions where the wage debt problem is particularly acute within one week, Russian news agencies also reported.

Primakov took office promising to pay back wages, a chronic problem in Russia.