Staunton, Nov. 24 – One of the consequences of Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine is that to pay for it, Moscow has slashed or even eliminated altogether planned spending on the repair of housing and other infrastructure. As a result, experts say, what Russians call “technogenic” catastrophes more likely.
The budget the Russian government has announced for the coming years shows declines in spending in all key areas of civil infrastructure. Spending on the repair or replacement of aging housing stock, for example, is slated to fall from 45 billion rubles (450 million US dollars) this year to 19.2 billion rubles (192 million US dollars) next (sibreal.org/a/rossiyskiy-byudzhet-2024-voyna-vmesto-sotsialki/32646989.html).
Spending for replacing water pipes is slated to fall from 46.6 billion rubles to 23.8 billion rubles (466 million to 236 million US dollars), and spending on the repair of roads to fall even more, something that will guarantee more accidents and less efficient movement of people and goods among parts of Russia.
According to one Moscow expert, ten percent of Russia’s roads need to be repaired every year to avoid disasters, but the new military-era budget of the Russian government will allow only six-tenths of one percent of them to be repaired next year – a decline of more than 90 percent.
Russians are already feeling the consequences of these budgetary shifts; but the longer the war goes on, the more they will feel the results of the Kremlin’s decision to shift from butter to guns – and the more likely they will be to ask questions about the value of the war to them or even to protest against it.