Defense Ministry claims ‘misquoted’ over order to withhold pay

The Russian Defense Ministry has dismissed media reports, claiming the Defense Minister had instructed it to deprive contract servicemen of their pay, as “misquoted” and “taken out of context.”

Local media had published copies of documents on the internet in which Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov instructed his ministry “not to pay cash allowances to contract servicemen enrolled…for less than six months.” The move “aims to save money from the federal budget and control the reduction of the number of servicemen,” the documents said.

The instruction, if genuine, would have left tens of thousands of contract servicemen in poverty.

A new order, apparently rescinding Serdyukov’s previous statement, was put on the internet on October 18.

“Minister Serdyukov’s instructions… were taken out of context,” a Defense Ministry source told RIA Novosti.

“No one is going to deprive contract servicemen of their money,” the source added.

The Russian armed forces are undergoing a gradual transition from a conscript based system to a professional system. The move has met with some resistance from some commanders, and has suffered from a lack of adequate funding.


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