Russia’s FBI-equivalent to get 175 percent wage hike

By IANS/RIA Novosti,

Moscow : Russia’s ruling party has proposed a 175 percent hike in wages for staff at the Investigative Committee, a law enforcement organisation that resembles America’s FBI.

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The committee has been particularly active in the recent crackdown on opposition activists. The committee had about 78,000 employees as of 2011.

A bill, which proposes a three-step increase in wages to be implemented between January and October 2013, was filed with the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, by the United Russia party. No date for its discussion has yet been set.

Monthly salaries at the committee averaged almost 80,000 rubles ($2,600) in 2011. The proposed hike would put them at 140,000 rubles ($4,560).

The average monthly salary in Russia stood at 26,400 rubles ($840) in September, or three times lower than average earnings of the employees at the committee.

The bill also proposes monthly bonuses ranging from two to five monthly salaries for senior staff at the committee.

The measure is expected to help stop professionals being lured away to other agencies by higher wages, a Duma spokesperson said.

The ruling party has already raised wages for police and armed forces.

The Investigative Committee has handled many high-profile cases against opposition activists since the start of large-scale protests in Russia.