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Defense Ministry Asks to Quadruple Housing Budget

Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov has proposed to quadruple funding by 2014 for construction of housing for the military in a letter to Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Kommersant reported Monday.

The letter was sent March 30 and asks that the current budget of 94.5 billion rubles ($3.2 billion) be raised to 366.7 billion.

This is in accordance with President Dmitry Medvedev's 2011 promise to provide apartments to the majority of soldiers by 2014 — something which Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Friday could be done by 2013.

Neither ministry has officially commented on the letter, but an unidentified source at the Finance Ministry told Kommersant that they will insist on reducing the requested increase.

A source at the Defense Ministry told Kommersant that any reduction would "threaten the president's order to resolve the problem of army housing by 2014."

The extra funds are needed for various reasons, including the purchase of more apartments and the refurbishment of ones currently owned by the Defense Ministry, about half of which are currently not fit to live in, Kommersant reported.

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