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Russian Governor Asks For Minimum Wage Salary

Nikita Belykh

Nikita Belykh

KIROV -- Kirov Oblast Governor Nikita Belykh has proposed that his region's legislative assembly reduce his salary to Russia's minimum wage, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

If the assembly adopts the idea, Belykh, whose salary is some 150,000 rubles ($5,000) per month, will receive 4,330 rubles ($146) -- about the salary of a kindergarten teacher or a cleaner in Kirov.

Belykh said on his blog that he decided to ask for the minimum wage in order to set a good personal example and to be able look regional and municipal officials in the eye when asking them to make budget cuts.

He added that he is ready to give up some personal benefits for the sake of the region.

Belykh, 34, a former businessman and leader of Russia' opposition Union of Right Forces, said he would live off the savings from some real estate investments and sale of stock shares.

Belykh has also initiated an antialcohol campaign in Kirov Oblast. Since January 1, selling vodka, whiskey, and other strong alcohol is banned between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Belykh said he will not take a single drink of alcohol and that any alcohol he receives as a gift will be sold at an auction.