Verstka: Russian servicemen and their families in 52 regions complain about back pay and lack of salary

Russia’s servicemen and members of their families from 52 Russian regions and the annexed Crimea peninsula have started to complain about back pay and lack of salary payouts, says Verstka in its newest investigation.

Verstka spoke to numerous sources who say that mass issues with payouts started in early 2023. Such issues were only standalone incidents back in 2022, they say.

Data: Verstka

Data: Verstka

Verstka reports that residents of at least 52 Russian regions, as well as the annexed Crimea peninsula, have posted complaints on VK, Russia’s largest social media platform. Such issues affected servicemen regardless of their status (the mobilised, contracted servicemembers, or “volunteers”) or their bank.

Comment sections of such posts show people saying that the Ministry of Defense officially transfers salaries from the 10th to the 20th of each month and that the delays may be due to the transfer of a serviceman to another unit. However, some military personnel have been waiting for their salaries for up to several months.

Another issue is salary cuts. Officially, the salary of any servicemember consists of several parts. The differences may be in additional social allowances and “combat bonuses”. However, due to some data being classified, cases of lower monthly payments have become more frequent as it is problematic to prove one’s participation in the hostilities.

“You’re never going to prove anything there. When our armed forces entered Ukrainian territory, there was no formal order. So, this is how it works, it is nowhere on paper,” a former contracted serviceman told Verstka.

Valentina Melnikova of the Union of the Committees of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia, an NGO with a stated mission of exposing human rights violations within the Russian military, says the current issues are connected with an “administrative collapse”.

“We never had so many people involved in combat before. We never had draftees or volunteers. So, there is no experience on how to work with so many personnel,” she said.

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