Staunton, July 18 – Under Vladimir Putin, the Russian security services have increased in size to the point where they employ almost one in every 57 residents of the Russian Federation; and they have seen their budgets and the pay for staff rise by even more leaving them with “bloated budgets and low effectiveness,” Dmytro Horevoy says.
The Russian security agencies are receiving almost a third of the entire state budget of Russia in 2021, according to public records, the Ukrainian journalist says. The actual figure from classified accounts certainly pushes their share still higher (trtrussian.com/mnenie/razdutye-byudzhety-i-nizkaya-effektivnost-chto-izvestno-o-silovikah-rf-6042334).
The Russian security services copy their Soviet predecessors in a variety of ways, being overstaffed and overpaid; and they are likely even more corrupt and less well-supervised than their predecessors because the competition among them while intense lacks the overarching control the CPSU provided.
Horevoy gives figures for the number of staffers in each of the force structures and their budgets for this year and next: the Interior Ministry has 692,000 employees, a budget of 765.5 billion rubles this year and 790 bill next year; the Russian Guard has 340,000 staff, a budget of 255.5 billion rubles this year and 263.7 billion next.
The Federal Penal System has 212,000 employees, a budget of 246.5 billion rubles this year and 263.7 billion next; the FSB has 200,000 staffers, a budget this year of 70 billion rubles in public and far more behind the scenes. Other security agencies have similarly large number of employees and budgets.
The pay of siloviki is “more than the average,” especially in places like the Caucasus where it exceeds that of the people they are assigned to control by 350 to 400 percent. And these agencies are massively corrupt because corporate culture and the regime’s desire not to alienate those who support it prevent any real fight against it, Horevoy says.
From the point of view of the Kremlin, the force structures are generally doing their job; but from the point of view of the population, they eat up too many resources and are used not to protect the people but only those who rule over them, the Ukrainian journalist concludes.