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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

President Orders 20% Pay Raises

President Vladimir Putin has ordered a 20 percent increase in wages for the armed forces, police, prison guards, customs officials and the tax police, the Kremlin said Thursday.

A spokeswoman said by telephone the increases would take effect Dec. 1.

Putin had earlier met Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin and agreed that defense and security spending would be among areas to benefit from any windfalls in next year’s budget.

The pay rise may not be as big as it appears. The military and police have been exempt from paying income tax, but the practice is due to end next year.

Under a new tax policy, income tax will be assessed at the flat rate of 13 percent.

The Kursk disaster has drawn attention not only to the poor state of the armed forces, but also to the wretched living conditions of soldiers and sailors.

Television footage of the grieving families of the Kursk’s victims has shown the decrepit state of their apartments in the military town where the submarine was based.

(Reuters, MT)