Oleksandr Turchynov: Decent monetary support for military servicemen becomes a matter of national security of the country
For the fourth year, military aggression against our country is ongoing. Those were the soldiers and officers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other military formations who, thanks to their courage and heroism, at the cost of great sacrifices, managed to stop the enemy and liberate part of our territories.
Regrettably, we became accustomed to the daily casualties that our troops continue to experience. But behind these dry figures, there are huge personal tragedies of parents, wives, children...Behind these figures are lives of courageous patriots of Ukraine.
In the face of daily hostilities, constant shellings and provocations, our soldiers and officers serve a duty that requires incredible nervous and physical strain, risking their lives every minute. Our duty is not only to proclaim pathetic speeches about the defenders of the country, respect for them and their authority in the society, our duty is not only to provide the army with modern weapons and military equipment, comfortable and high-quality clothes and shoes...But, which is a matter of principle, we must do our utmost to ensure that salaries of our military servicemen correspond to their important place in society. Revenues of our servicemen should satisfy the needs of their families at a decent level.
In 2015, an important decision was made to increase the financing of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, in particular, the minimum monetary support for contracted soldiers was set at 7000 hryvnias per month. This actually enabled the creation of a contract professional army. But the problem is that it is already the second half of 2017, and the situation with the financial support for the military has virtually not changed.
At the same time, a significant increase in wages of civil servants has taken place over the last two years. For example, many heads of departments of ministries and other central executive bodies, starting from 2016, received salaries that exceeded 30 thousand hryvnias per month. By contrast, today's total monthly income with premiums, bonuses and combat payments of a brigade commander - a colonel who fights on the frontline is 19500 hryvnias on average.
Position salary of the head of a department of a central executive body is 9115 hryvnias, additional payment for a rank is 800 hryvnias. Position salary of a brigade commander is 1200 hryvnias, and for the blood-paid colonel rank, he receives only 135 additional hryvnias. By the way, even position salary of a civil servant of the lower rank (specialist), who works in central executive bodies, significantly exceeds the salary of a brigade commander and amounts to 4200 hryvnias.
I do not propose to reduce the officials' salaries. Civil service throughout the world is a responsible and decently paid work. I demand that the budgetary planning, that is taking place now, should provide for a significant increase in the money maintenance of our servicemen!
Salaries of the military cannot be lower than the corresponding salaries of civil servants who work in cozy offices of central executive bodies. Fringe benefits for a military rank cannot be less than fringe benefits for the civil servant rank!
Monetary support for military servicemen should be the guideline for salaries in civil service. And all uncontrolled premium bonuses in state bodies should be taken into account. Consequently, if there is a desire to increase the officials' salaries, this should happen only after its priority increase for servicemen.
Salaries for military ranks of our soldiers and officers (the infamous 5 hryvnias for each rank) have not changed since 1999! Together with position salaries they should be immediately revised and become the basis of monetary support for the military.
The structure of monetary support for a Ukrainian serviceman must be in line with the NATO standards, where at least 70-80% is position salary and fringe benefits for a military rank. For the time being, our indicator is 10-15%.