Thursday, June 9, 2022

Kremlin Orders Russian Regions to Help Occupied Ukrainian Ones, Giving Former Another Unfunded Liability and Hiding the Cost of the Latter

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 23 – Since the start of the pandemic, Vladimir Putin has become adept at shifting costs to Russia’s federal subjects both to improve his own balance sheet and to hide overall costs. He is now doing so again, ordering Russian regions to pay for development of occupied Ukrainian ones but publishing no data on his order or the costs involved.

            Sergey Kiriyenko, deputy head of the Presidential Administration, has declared that on Putin’s order, Russian regions have been given responsibility for helping regions that Russian forces have occupied in Ukraine recover (

            But Dmitry Peskov, the presidential press spokesman, denies there was such an order although he added that none were needed because “the regions on their own independently may assume such responsibilities for other regions including those in Ukraine.” That comment is in the best traditions of a non-denial denial.

            And this back and forth almost certainly means that Moscow is imposing new burdens on the federal subjects, burdens that few of them are able to bear without cutting basic services to the Russian population, exacerbating the situation the population finds itself in but causing many residents to be more angry at their regional leaders than at Moscow, the source of the problem.

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