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Putin to spend a third of the budget on war - record since USSR collapse

Putin to spend a third of the budget on war - record since USSR collapse Putin to spend a third of the budget on war (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law on the federal budget for 2024-26. Next year, the Russian government intends to allocate almost a third of all expenditures to the maintenance of the military and the defense-industrial complex, marking the first time since Soviet times, according to Moscow Times.

Under the category of national defense, expenditures will amount to 10.775 trillion rubles (121 billion dollars at the current exchange rate of the Central Bank of Russia), a 70% increase compared to 2023 (6.8 trillion), 2.3 times more than in 2022 (4.7 trillion), and three times higher than the pre-war figures of 2021 (3.5 trillion).

The share of military expenses in the budget, with a total size of 36.66 trillion rubles, will reach 29.5%.

The Soviet Union allocated a third of its budget to defense in its final years. In the 1990 budget, 71 billion rubles out of 241.3 billion were earmarked for military purposes, which is 29.4%.

Additionally, according to the budget law, the government will spend another 3.338 trillion rubles under the category of national security, which includes the budgets of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the National Guard, special services, and the FSB system. Compared to the current year, these expenses will increase by 163 billion rubles. Thus, almost 40% of the budget will be allocated to security structures.

Other expenditures

  • Economic support expenditures will decrease from 4.125 to 3.889 trillion rubles.
  • Funding for education and healthcare, each at 1.6 trillion rubles, will be frozen, and in real terms, considering inflation, will be reduced.
  • Expenditures for the national health project are planned to be cut by 10%, from 321.3 to 289.9 billion rubles.
  • Funding for state propaganda will remain at record levels, with state media receiving 121.3 billion rubles from the budget, compared to 122 billion this year.
  • Expenditures under the category of culture and cinematography, which includes budgets for creating pro-war propaganda films, will increase by 11% to 234 billion rubles.

"All for the front, all for victory," said Finance Minister Anton Siluanov in September, commenting on the document. He urged not to worry about a lack of money in the treasury, stating, "It will be enough for what is planned. A normal, healthy budget," the minister added.

Kremlin's oil revenues

According to MEA data, despite a global decline in oil prices, the average price of Russian oil fell to $80.66 per barrel in October. Nevertheless, it significantly exceeds the limit of $60 set by the G7.

In October, Moscow received $18.34 billion from the export of crude oil and petroleum products. Russia's monthly income from oil sales abroad remains near the highest level since October 2022.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimated Russia's military expenditure budget for 2023 to be around 6.6 trillion rubles (85.8 billion dollars), approximately 4.4% of Russia's GDP, compared to 3.6% in 2021 before the invasion of Ukraine.