Staunton, November 2 – The announcement that Moscow will provide out of money raised by taxes on Russians grants to cover 80 percent of the budget of Russian-occupied Crimea for the next three years has prompted Boris Vishnevsky to calculate just how much of a direct burden Crimea and Chechnya as well are for the average Russian.
According to the figures of the Yabloko deputy in St. Petersburg’s Legislative Assembly, almost 2,000 rubles (32 US dollars) of each Russian’s taxes will go to occupied Crimea and an additional 700 rubles (11 US dollars) will go to cover the Chechnya of Ramzan Kadyrov (echo.msk.ru/blog/boris_vis/2084924-echo/).
Those amounts may not seem large to outsiders, but they are increasingly hard to take for the millions of Russians now living in poverty; and they are far from the only burden that Moscow’s approach in these two places alone has put on Russians. In addition, some have lost family members in fighting and suffered as a result of the Kremlin’s counter-sanctions.
Indeed, as Vishnevsky says, these amounts are horrific given Moscow’s unwillingness to support necessary medical care and other social services; and he strongly implies that when Russians recognize how much they are paying and how little they are receiving, they may view the regime differently than many of them now do.
And that is all the more so, Vishnevsky suggests, because these amounts aren’t declining or scheduled to end anytime soon. Instead, they are open-ended and, if past practice is any indication, they are likely to grow in the future.