The Defense Ministry is paying 2 billion rubles ($60 million) every month to 45,400 current and retired military personnel because they cannot be fired without being provided with accommodation, Izvestia reported Friday.
Between 2010 and 2012 there was no internal control of the legality and efficiency of spending at the ministry, an Audit Chamber investigation concluded. Over the last three years, the failure to provide timely living quarters has consumed more than 66 billion rubles.
Of the 45,400 former servicemen receiving funds, 34,300 are still technically employed by the armed forces. Despite fulfilling no function, the armed forces cannot fire them without the provision of living space.
The law obliges the Defense Ministry to provide accommodation to members of the armed forces who have served longer than 10 years. At the start of this year, 57,000 officers were waiting for accommodation, Gazeta.ru reported. A year earlier, the number was 82,000.
While huge resources are spent on the acquisition and construction of apartments, the ministry remains unable to reduce the list of those waiting. Servicemen often refuse what they are offered, complaining of poorly situated accommodation, often far from their place of service and badly integrated into the local infrastructure. Comparatively miserly cash compensation is another source of dissatisfaction, the report said.