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Putin Raises Judges' Salaries, Orders Hearings to Be Broadcast Live

President Vladimir Putin on Friday conducted a small reform of the nation's judicial system, raising judges' salaries, easing requirements for appointing justices and ordering court hearings to be broadcast live.

Many federal judges will get a 6 percent raise on Oct. 1, the Kremlin announced Friday. Their retirement packages are also set to rise.

Such salaries had not gone up since 2004, the president told law enforcement officials assembled for the grand opening of a new city court in St. Petersburg.

Remuneration for jurors and arbitration court assessors are also slated for an increase. The raises take into account inflation rates, Interfax reported.

Putin spoke in favor of publishing all court rulings in the near future and, eventually, streaming court proceedings on the Internet.

"Such transparency of court procedures will undoubtedly raise the responsibility of judges," Putin said, Interfax reported.

Putin also signed into law amendments easing requirements for appointing the Supreme Court chief justice and his deputies, Kremlin.ru reported. One of the amendments eliminates the age limit for justices.

The president added that conditions for journalists working with the court system should be improved, with accreditation and court materials provided "quickly," Interfax reported.

The new court building where the president spoke is designed in such a way as to eliminate communication between judges and visitors outside of the courtroom in order to reduce corruption risks, Rosbalt reported, citing city court chairwoman Valentina Yepifanova.

Friday's meeting included Constitutional Court chairman Valery Zorkin, Supreme Court chairman Vyacheslav Lebedev, Supreme Arbitration Court chairman Anton Ivanov, Prosecutor General Yury Chaika, Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov and presidential aide Larisa Brychyova, Interfax reported.

About 50 to 60 judges are fired every year in Russia, Supreme Court chairman Vyacheslav Lebedev told journalists Friday, Regnum.ru reported.

Judges are "dependent on executive power" for "material issues," such as housing, Lebedev said, Interfax reported.

"If there are goals in one's head to use the powerful position of a judge to solve personal issues, all is possible," he said.

Russia employs some 23,000 federal judges and 744 magistrates, the news agency said.

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