Russian government promises military salaries by September

Igor Kudrik
1997-07-16 12:00

Catastrophic conditions in the Northern Fleet,
says commander-in-chief:

Russian government promises military salaries by September

In the middle of July the Russian government promised to cover all its
salary debts to the army by September this year, allocating 800 million USD for
this purpose. The announcement came after a parliamentary hearing on the
problems within the armed forces in the beginning of July.

The governmental announcement has direct bearing on the problems of the Northern
Fleet, as they were described at a meeting in Murmansk in the end of June. This meeting
was organised by the Murmansk county administration to deal with the the problems of
the Northern Fleet and other military units on the Kola Peninsula; problems affecting
more than 200,000 people.

The main outcome of the Murmansk meeting was the adoption of official appeals to
the President, Government and Defence Minister, prompted by the then upcoming
parliamentary hearing in Moscow. The leadership of the Murmansk county
administration attended the hearing.

Catastrophic sosial conditions in the Northern Fleet
The latest data on the economical situation in the Northern Fleet was submitted at the
Murmansk meeting. It was said that the state debt to the Northern Fleet has reached
some 300 million USD. The Naval Repair yards have no orders from the government;
this is in particular the case for Nerpa yard, where operations have come almost to a
stand-still, running at 6% of its industrial capasity.

The administration’s suggestion was to change the status of the yards; from being
military subjects to being subjects of the civilian Ministry of Economy. In the meantime
some of the yards – in particular Sevmorput Naval Repair Yard, located at the outskirts
of Murmansk – seriously consider closing down.

The commander-in-chief of the Northern Fleet, Admiral Erofeev, described the
social situation established in the Northern Fleet as “critical” and “catastrophic”. Just
before the meeting there was a spontaneous gathering in the streets of Zaozersk
(Zapadnaya Litsa), organised by submarine officers who had not received salaries since
February this year. The admiral stressed once again that the nuclear-powered submarines
pulled out of operation – by now the number has reached some 90 units – is a financial
burden for the Northern Fleet, which has had to allocate some 4000 sailors to keep them

Finally, Erofeev mentioned the ship repair problem as an acute one; claiming that
none of the 236 million USD allocated in the budget for the purpose arrived at the
Northern Fleet.

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