Putin approves pre-election salary boost for police, military personnel

Russian President Putin takes part in the BRICS summit in Moscow
Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in the BRICS summit via a video link in Moscow, Russia September 9, 2021. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS

MOSCOW, Sept 13 (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin on Monday approved higher salaries for law enforcement and military personnel ahead of a parliamentary vote, one of many measures critics say is designed to boost support for the ruling party.

The measure, which indexes their compensation to a figure above inflation, comes days before Russians head to the polls on Sept. 17-19 for an election which the ruling United Russia party is expected to dominate despite a slump in its ratings due to declining living standards.

Putin's order, published on the Kremlin's website, said the salaries of military and law enforcement personnel would be adjusted to a figure higher than inflation in 2022 and 2023.

The increase, the precise details of which were not disclosed in the order, is based on pledges made by Putin at a United Russia meeting in August.

Inflation in Russia last month stood at 6.7%, well above the central bank's 4% target.

Putin last month also approved one-off payments of 15,000 roubles ($200) each to fire fighters, police officers, prosecutors and soldiers, among others, a move the Kremlin said was designed to safeguard the social needs of those receiving them. read more

He has also pledged similar payments to pensioners, many of whom have been affected by rising food rises and inflation.

Kremlin critics say such measures amount to targeted bribes of key voter groups upon whom Putin relies to remain in power. The Kremlin denies the payments are in any way connected with the elections.

Putin has been in power as either president or prime minister since 1999. He helped found the ruling United Russia party, though he is not a member.

Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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