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BBC Monitoring
Supply of army pros exceeds demand in provincial Russia
Source: Ren TV, Moscow, in Russian 1000 gmt 30 Oct 01

[Presenter] US marines [involved in the Afghan operation - reference to the previous report] receive 4,000 dollars per month. This is 50 per cent more than their colleagues who are not engaged in combat. Moreover, they are exempted from all taxes, which means a lot in their country.

Payments for taking part in hostilities in Russia are much smaller. This is why Russian units serving in conflict areas consist only one third of professional soldiers. The rest are conscript servicemen. Those who want to earn money at war are more keen to go abroad. Yekaterina Sedovataya reports from Vladimir Region.

[Correspondent] Friends and neighbours Valeriy and Roman are planning to become professional soldiers once again. Valeriy fought in both Chechen campaigns. Roman fought only in the last one. Valeriy is 36. Roman is 22. The average salary in the Energetik village is R2,000 [70 dollars per month]. The few available vacancies are at a poultry farm. In a couple of weeks the soldiers will go to Kosovo. Their allowance depends on the area of deployment and their position. In Tajikistan they receive R3,500-R4,000, in Chechnya R6,500-R27,000, and in Kosovo about 1,000 dollars per month.

Asked why they are going to a conflict zone, Roman and Valeriy say partly because of the money, but mostly to get more adrenaline.

[Valeriy, captioned as professional soldier] Those who get this money quit in a couple of years. It is very difficult to stay there. When hostilities are under way, you don't think much about the money.

[Correspondent] The relatives of the soldiers are getting worried. Both mothers have started following the news from Yugoslavia.

[Yelena Aleksandrovna, captioned as Roman's mother] I am very worried. But if he has decided this, let him go. It is certainly hard for us. We watch the television and get worried.

[Correspondent] There are more people than needed who come to the Vladimir military commissariat and ask if they could serve in the army for money, which is in stark contrast with the regular draft. The range of people is very great - from the unemployed to experts with a decree.

Many believe that the professional army will solve all their problems, but how can one find the money needed to keep it up? Even now, professional soldiers don't receive everything they are supposed to.

[Vladimir Kruchinin, captioned as the head of the fourth department of the Vladimir Region military commissariat] Sometimes the military commissariat has to simply wring money out of the army. They come and complain that they have not received combat allowances.

[Correspondent] The military say they are not against a professional army, but they say a real professional army will be possible only when economic conditions are created for it. Right now we can only dream about a professional army.

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