To the Law on Pay of Servicemen

On November 7, President  D. Medvedev of Russia signed the Federal Law on Pay of Servicemen  and Granting Them Individual Payments1.

During the development of the law and debates in the Duma, mass media (including IET experts2) gave an extensive coverage of the problem of the existing system of pay and the ways of upgrading it. However, the new law has preserved a number of disadvantages of the previous system of pay and resulted in emergence of new ones.

The two issues are related to the existence of the military draft: first, as before as regards conscript servicemen   (unlike contract servicemen) there are still no payments for the service grade (Article 2 (3)). Why then are conscript servicemen assigned service grades? Second, payments to servicemen who received a military injury and were drafted to the armed forces are half as much than those of contract servicemen (Article 3 (12)). They both are human beings and there is no answer to the question why the health of a contract serviceman is worth more that that of a conscript serviceman.

Some positive changes which are introduced by new federal laws give rise to new problems. In particular, one can agree with reduction of the number of bonuses   and adjustment of such bonuses to a percentage of the pay in accordance with the rank, but only in case where it is possible.  However, there is a number of jobs which cannot be evaluated that way (diving jobs, parachute jumping and other). It is unclear how such jobs will be evaluated from January 1, 2010.

An important disadvantage of the new law is a large number of reference rules, that is, the law has determined that there should be a payment, but the amount of such a payment and procedure for effecting it are set in most cases by the Government of the Russian Federation. It can be illustrated as follows:  It has been declared that one of the main advantages of the new law is that the amount of the pay has been increased on average by 150%-200%, while the amount of pensions to persons who served in the armed forces, by 50%-70%3. However, proceeding from the text of the law, one cannot make a conclusion about such an increase as the law does not include any specific figures as regards the pay of servicemen, nor link the amount of the pay to anything (for instance, to the minimum monthly wage or the average pay in the country) which factor could serve as a guarantee of the size of the pay, but leaves all such issues at discretion of the Government of the Russian Federation. 

Consequently, it would be premature to assess to what extent the new federal law on the pay of servicemen is a good one until statutes which explain all those reference rules have been made public.

Е.V. Trofimova, PhD, Senior Researcher of  the Laboratory of Military Economy

  1 Federal law No. 306-FZ of November 7, 2011 of the Russian Federation.
  2 V.I. Tsymbal, and A.A. Privetkin. The Collapse of the Strategy of the Social Development on the Financial Front // Independent Military Review. June 3,  2011.