MOSCOW, December 15 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s ruling party proposed on Saturday to hike wages by 175 percent for staff at the Investigative Committee, which has been particularly active in the recent crackdown on opposition activists.
The bill, which proposes a three-step increase in wages to be implemented between January and October 2013, was filed with the lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, by the United Russia party. No date for its discussion has yet been set.
Monthly salaries at the Investigative Committee averaged almost 80,000 rubles ($2,600) in 2011, according to the State Statistics Service. The proposed hike would put them at 140,000 rubles ($4,560).
The average monthly salary in Russia stood at 26,400 rubles ($840) in September, or three times lower than average earnings at the Investigative Committee.
The bill also proposes monthly bonuses ranging from two to five monthly salaries for senior staff at the committee, a Russian law enforcement body that resembles the FBI. The committee had about 78,000 employees as of 2011.
The measure is expected to help stop professionals being lured away to other agencies by higher wages, a Duma spokesperson said.
The ruling party has already raised wages for the police and armed forces.
The Investigative Committee has handled most high-profile cases against opposition activists since the start of large-scale protests in Russia. It opened two cases against opposition leader and whistleblowing lawyer Alexei Navalny and accused leftist Sergei Udaltsov and two other men of conspiring with a Georgian politician to plot a coup in Russia. It is also handling the case against 17 people accused of staging clashes with police during a rally on May 6, after which about 650 people were briefly detained, according to rights activists' figures.
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The current contract portfolio of Russian arms exporters is worth about $46 billion. Annual exports total $15 billion, and this will ensure uninterrupted deliveries for the next three years, even in the worst-case scenario. The list of the main buyers of Russian weapons is unlikely to change drastically.