Contract soldiers demand back wages
ROSTOV-ON-DON About 60 men who served as contract soldiers in Chechnya for the Russian army and Interior Ministry gathered outside a regional military headquarters in a protest to demand back wages.
The soldiers said they had not been paid for five months and were owed about $1,000 per person. The protest outside the headquarters of the North Caucasus military district was peaceful and police did not disperse the men.
Russia uses contract soldiers along with regular troops in Chechnya paying 600 rubles for each day in the republic and 1,000 rubles for each day of combat. Private Vladimir Gorskikh, a tank driver, complained that "they have deceived us again, like they did in the first Chechen campaign."
Lt. Col. Gennady Trofimov, deputy police chief in the city, said police would meet with military officials on resolving the dispute.
Following Russian Orthodox tradition, Russians on Wednesday marked the 40th day after the sinking of the nuclear submarine Kursk, mourning the deaths of 118 sailors and officers.
Russian officials say most of the Kursk's crew were probably killed instantly when the submarine was shattered by an explosion Aug. 12. But some of the sailors may have remained alive for hours, or even days, after the disaster, as the submarine lay on the floor of the Barents Sea, officials have said.
"We don't even know exactly on which day they died," the daily Moskovsky Komsomolets said in a front-page story.
Still, mourning services for the sailors were held across Russia. Priests chanted liturgies in a chapel on the military base of Vidyayevo, out of which the Kursk sailed on its last voyage.
Putin date confirmed
Russian President Vladimir Putin will travel to New Delhi on Oct. 2 to sign a declaration of partnership and close a deal to sell Russian tanks to India, the presidential press service said.
During the three-day official visit, Putin is also expected to sign a dozen agreements on cooperation in defense, nuclear energy, civil aviation, culture, education and agriculture, Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov said, according to ITAR-TASS.
Klebanov, who is in New Delhi to prepare for Putin's visit, said "Russia has never signed so many documents on cooperation with any foreign country."