There remains no conclusive evidence that Russia may have engaged in “bounties” on American soldiers serving in Afghanistan, where the Kremlin may have paid the Taliban to kill U.S. servicemembers. There were, however, allegations made that the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong may have used bounties to encourage the killing of Americans – and the practice is believed to have begun as early as 1964.
Though such allegations of bounties being placed on U.S. soldiers have never been confirmed, the Kremlin did announce on Tuesday that a Russian soldier was given one million rubles by a private foundation for destroying the first German-made Leopard 2 main battle tank (MBT) in Ukraine. A number of Western tanks have been lost since Ukraine launched its counteroffensive earlier this month.
The bonus was apparently paid for from a fund that had been established by a group of private entrepreneurs, likely in an apparent move to show their unwavering loyalty to the Kremlin.
“1-million-ruble reward was handed in to Russian serviceman Andrey Kravtsov at the Vishnevsky National Medical Research Center for destroying a Leopard tank in battle. The reward was instituted by the Siberian Care entrepreneurial fund,” the ministry said in a statement, Russian state media outlet Tass reported.
Kravtsov, who had lost his right hand in combat, received his reward certificate while recovering in the hospital. Three-time Olympic champion in Greco-Roman wrestling Alexander Karelin presented the award, and he told the Russian soldier, “These are wonderful additional payments for those who cause significant damage to the enemy, on top of what the state is doing.”
This bonus was in addition to the individual bonuses that the Russian Ministry of Defense has paid to thousands of its soldiers since the start of its so-called “special military operation” last year. Those who could destroy a tank have been promised 100,000 rubles, while an airplane could earn pilots and air defense crews up to 300,000 rubles.
The ministry has said that to date more than 10,000 servicemen have received rewards for destroying some 16,000 items of Ukrainian and Western military equipment.
What Is The Price of a Hand?
Given the serious wounds that Kravtsov suffered, it is unlikely he’ll be forced to return to the frontlines, although he has vowed to continue to serve the Motherland.
“I believe that once we took the oath of the Russian Federation, we must not sit idle,” the soldier said, per Tass.
And while he is now a “millionaire” in Russia, he may have to make sure he doesn’t go on too much of a spending spree. With the current exchange rate, one million rubles is equal to only around $11,840.
Author Experience and Expertise:
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.