Employees at Russian universities, hospitals and research institutions report that their wages have increased by up to three times in the months ahead of presidential elections scheduled for this Sunday.
After his inauguration in 2012, President Vladimir Putin promised to increase the real incomes of health care, education and research professionals by 2018 in a series of executive orders known in Russia as the “May Decrees.” According to official data, salaries for all three categories of workers' failed to reach Putin's target by the end of 2017.
Workers at state institutions interviewed by the RBC business portal have confirmed receiving unexpected pay raises starting from December 2017, the month when Putin announced his reelection bid.
“This payment was completely illogical,” RBC cited municipal deputy and Moscow State University (MSU) junior research fellow Vasily Dikaryov as saying on Monday.
“According to MSU activists’ calculations, the entire research and academic staff received a salary that was equivalent to five months,” Dikaryov added.
Moscow Aviation Institute professors told RBC that they too had received significant pay raises, while an Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences employee said its leadership had admitted that the bonuses were made to “adjust” to Putin’s May Decrees.
Moscow healthcare department officials and hospital unions across the capital confirmed receiving "unusually large stimulating payments that suddenly came out of nowhere."
Official statistics indicate pay raises of at least 20 percent among education, healthcare and scientific research professionals in January 2018.