The Russian Defense Ministry has criticized an independent news website for publishing the average salaries of members of the military after a Russian pilot's plane was shot down over Syria.
St. Petersburg's news website Fontanka revealed late February 5 that with basic information anyone can access the personal files of officers on the ministry's online database.
"A pilot with the title of major receives on average a little over 100,00 rubles ($1,750) after taxes," the media outlet said.
Fontanka suggested that Major Roman Filipov -- who was killed on February 3 after his jet fighter was downed in northwest Syria -- received as much.
The Defense Ministry on February 6 lashed out against the Fontanka report as lacking "an elementary understanding of decency and journalistic ethics."
Russia hailed Filipov as a national hero after he reportedly parachuted out of his Su-25 warplane into a Syrian rebel stronghold and killed himself with a hand grenade before he could be captured by Islamists.
Fontanka said the database showed that Russian pilots can also receive bonuses of 140,000 rubles ($2,450).
The website said that while the ministry "probably meant well," its database posed a potential danger for Russian soldiers.