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Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved one-off payments for police and military officials.

The decree will grant bonuses of 15,000 rubles (€ 170) to all army and law enforcement personnel in September, according to the Kremlin.

The presidential decree said the payments were designed to protect the “social needs” of emergency workers.

But critics say the move is designed to encourage the military to vote for Putin’s ruling United Russia party ahead of parliamentary elections next month.

Last week, a similar one-time bonus of 10,000 rubles (€ 110) was offered to retirees.

Russia has around 42 million retirees and at least 1.7 million police, military and national guards. Both groups traditionally vote for United Russia, but the party faces increased criticism ahead of the tight election schedule.

Russian citizens have expressed their anger at the declining standard of living in the country since 2014, coupled with rising consumer prices.

United Russia currently receives 27.3% of the vote, according to the Vtsiom institute close to the government. Meanwhile, confidence levels in Vladimir Putin are assessed at 62.2%.

Opponents of the Kremlin, as well as the independent media, have been suppressed by the authorities in the run-up to the elections.

Russia has also undertaken to dismantle the movement of imprisoned opponent Alexei Navalny, labeling his organizations “extremists” and blocking several websites. Many allies and supporters close to Navalny were also excluded from the elections or forced into exile.

Several independent media and NGOs have recently been classified as “foreign agents”, a controversial status that seriously complicates their operations.

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euronews Gt

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