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Military Housing Shortage to Be Resolved in 2013

The Defense Ministry has been one of the largest residential real estate customers over the past few years. Igor Tabakov

The Defense Ministry will fully resolve a shortage of housing for military personnel by the end of the year, an official promised.

Deputy Defense Minister Ruslan Tsalikov made the promise in a meeting with members of Officers of Russia, an NGO that represents servicemen's rights.

"In our plans we are working from the starting point that the problem of housing for servicemen should be resolved in 2013," Tsalikov said. "In 2013 everyone who joined the line before Jan.1, 2012 should [receive an apartment]," he said. ? 

About 49,000 servicemen out of a waiting list of 82,400 signed leases for accommodation last year. But 24,000 more personnel joined the line in 2012.

The failure of the government to meet its obligation to house servicemen is a long-running grievance amongst serving and retired officers and one of the priorities identified by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Serving officers cannot be transferred to the reserve without having received permanent accommodation.

The Defense Ministry will switch from providing accommodation to offering cash payments so that officers can rent or buy their own accommodation from January 2014, Tsalikov said.

He also promised to crack down on a lack of transparency at the ministry's housing department.

About 200 officers who were awarded apartments in Moscow by court order at the end of 2012 will be offered an apartment in the first quarter of the year, he said.

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