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Kozhin Dismisses Allegations About Officials' Sweet Life as 'Soviet-era Tales'

MOSCOW. May 5 (Interfax) - Government officials are not living such a good life as it seems, they pay both for their homes and 'dachas' (country houses), said Vladimir Kozhin, head of the Russian Presidential Property Management Department.

"Leaving aside high-level officials - ministers and their deputies, today apart from salaries, bonuses and health insurance an average public servant has nothing else," Kozhin said in an interview published in the
Thursday issue of the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.

"All this talk about free dachas, personal cars, free homes, 'sweet life' and so on, are Soviet-era tales," he said.

Even those who are entitled to a dacha - and they are a very small group of high-level officials - they pay for it quite big money every month, Kozhin said. "We are virtually getting closer to having them to pay at least for operating costs," Kozhin said.

As for medical services, there is only a small set of compulsory free procedures and medical services, and all the rest has to be paid for by officials, he said.

Apartments are provided to a very small circle of persons, Kozhin also said. Normally, it happens in the event of staff rotation, when a new deputy minister or minister is appointed. An official is obligated to sell his previous apartment, wherever it is located, at a market value and to contribute the proceeds to the budget. Alternatively, the official can hand over the previous apartment for disposal to the Presidential Property Management Department.

"Today virtually nothing is for free. So the "sweet life" for today's public servants ended without hardly ever starting. They have to pay for everything," Kozhin said.

As for officials' salaries at the Presidential Property Management Department, they vary for a specialist, a leading specialist, a head of division and a head of department, and there is a system of bonuses, Kozhin said. "On average, if you take all that, the salary is somewhere between 30,000 and 80,000 to 100,000 rubles per month," Kozhin said.


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