Russian medics ask where Putin’s virus bonuses went
Moscow: Maria, a 24-year-old doctor working outside Moscow, expected to be paid extra if one of her patients tested positive for the coronavirus. Instead, her salary shrank.
In a small town 200 kilometres (120 miles) from the capital, she visits patients at home and normally has around three calls a day. But that number surged to 30 in April as the pandemic struck Russia.
When President Vladimir Putin promised on TV in April that doctors would get a monthly bonus of 80,000 rubles ($1,100) for treating virus patients, she thought it was compensation for increased risk and workload.
“I hoped that if I came in contact with the infection, I would also get some extra money,” said Maria, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, fearing she could damage her career prospects.
What happened was quite different.
After a patient she visited and swabbed tested positive, Maria was ordered to self-isolate for two weeks. When she got her April salary, it was cut to just 14,000 rubles.
Her salary varies from month to month, but the most she makes is 36,000 rubles, working two different jobs and overtime, she said.
“I could have contracted the virus, but instead of a bonus, my salary is less than usual,” said Maria, who was only given one surgical mask and a pair of gloves per shift.
Healthcare workers across Russia watched Putin promise doctors extra pay and monthly bonuses of between 25,000 and 80,000 rubles to medics and drivers working to fight coronavirus.
But when overworked doctors opened their April pay slips, most saw no sign of these generous sums. – AFP