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Russia: Military Doubts Salaries Will Meet Deadline

Moscow, 28 August 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russian President Boris Yeltsin today said the government has fulfilled promises to pay delayed pensions and salaries to the Army.

However, our military affairs correspondent in Moscow quotes a top Defense Ministry officials as saying it is not possible for all back payments to reach servicemen by the deadline of September 1 set by Yeltsin.

Itar-Tass reports that Yeltsin made the comment during a Kremlin meeting with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.

Yeltsin also said there has been no pension arrears for three months now. He said this trend will continue month after month so that arrears to other sectors would be fully repaid by January 1.

Our correspondent says the Finances Ministry has transferred large sums to the Defense ministry, but payment may not happen automatically, since local commanders, some of whom are corrupt, pay servicemen. He quoted an unnamed top General Staff official as saying some social payments -- which make up a large portion of military pay -- will not be made on time. The Defense Ministry has received only about a third of the planned funding this year.