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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Witness Protection Program Gets $53M

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has signed off on a five-year, $53 million witness protection program, the government said Tuesday.

About half of the money will be spent on relocating and providing shelter to witnesses and other participants in court and investigation proceedings who need protection from 2009 to 2013, according to the program, which was signed Oct. 2 and posted Tuesday on the government’s web site.

The Interior Ministry said in June that it had provided protection to only about 700 witnesses — one-third of them with their families — and 1,159 law enforcement officials in the first half of 2009, even though 5 million witnesses had faced threats during this period. The ministry said protecting a single witness costs $3,300 a month. The program allows witnesses to resettle with new identities and jobs and can include bodyguards and plastic surgery.