Staunton, September 30 – The Russian government plans to increase spending on the military and police by 33 percent over the next three years, relying on higher oil prices schedules far smaller increases on social needs like healthcare and housing and reduces support to the regions, according to finance ministry documents released this week.
Those plans (regulation.gov.ru/projects#), discussed in detail Finanz.ru (finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/pensii-rossiyan-brosyat-na-finansirovanie-silovikov-1027572367), show that despite protests against the government’s raising of pension ages, Moscow intends to spend relatively less on social needs and ever more on the national defense and its own security.
That sets the stage for ever more conflicts between a regime apparently preparing for even more aggression abroad and repression at home and a population that will increasingly be paying for these unpopular measures by sacrifices that the powers that be impose on them regardless of their wishes.
This year, the figures show, the Russian government plans to spend 5.147 trillion rubles (70 billion US dollars) on the military and police, with the amount rising to 6.64 trillion rubles (91 billion US dollars) by 2021.
This increase on security spending is twice the increase in spending on the economy, five times the additional amount for medicine, 12 times new money for education, and 53 times for support of communal service. Spending for debt service is slated to rise by 32 percent, but transfers to the regions to be cut by 4.6 percent, creating still more unfunded mandates there.
As the finance ministry document shows, the government anticipates having enough money to avoid these cuts as a result of “super income” from the sale of oil at prices above the planned 40 US dollars a barrel; but instead of doing so, Moscow will be putting that money either into security or into a national welfare fund.
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