Russia's military-industrial complex in panic over low salaries, mass layoffs

Employees at Russian military-industrial complex complain about extremely low wages and mass layoffs, pointing out that for a long time indexation was not carried out at all.

 A general view shows the oil refinery of the Lukoil company in Volgograd, Russia April 22, 2022. Picture taken April 22, 2022.  (photo credit: REUTERS/REUTERS PHOTOGRAPHER)
A general view shows the oil refinery of the Lukoil company in Volgograd, Russia April 22, 2022. Picture taken April 22, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/REUTERS PHOTOGRAPHER)

Russia's Armed Forces are losing civilian contractors due to lack of adequate financial compensation, according to a letter sent from the trade union of civilian personnel of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the Siberian region to the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin.

In the letter, employees complain about extremely low wages and mass layoffs, pointing out that for a long time indexation was not carried out at all.

This is not the first appeal of the Russian trade unions regarding the negative consequences of international sanctions for the Russian military-industrial complex. Earlier, the Arkhangelsk trade unions warned about possible social unrest due to the sharp decline in wages and living standards.

What is the union's stance on the war?

Officially, the union strongly supports the Russian invasion of Ukraine by organizing various propaganda events. However, the union does not acknowledge the connection between the sanctions imposed due to the war and the inability of the military budget to finance their work properly.

A Russian facility responsible for the production of surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) has been shut down due to import restrictions and Western sanctions. This is because, as noted by employees, "almost nothing Russian" is used during the critical state of production when electronic components are used. 

Most of the Russian military's electronic components were provided by Germany, but with sanctions in place, Germany is no longer providing Russia with any supplies.

With the factories closed, however, the workers are given one of two choices: Go on unpaid leave or join the Russian army to serve in the war with Ukraine, preferably as a SAM operator, and get a monthly salary of 50,000 rubles (around $600).

Earlier in April, a Vladivostok shipyard was allegedly unable to meet 25 billion rubles' worth of government orders to build two tankers, two missile boats, and to maintain and repair other vessels.

"It is obvious that the Russian military-industrial complex remains dependent on imported high technologies," Ukraine's GUR said. "Without the supply of which Russia is unable to continue production of modern weapons."

Aaron Reich, Michael Starr contributed to this report.