Russian military spending is expected to increase by almost 70% in 2024, according to a Finance Ministry document published Thursday, a spectacular explosion deemed “necessary” by the Kremlin to continue its assault in Ukraine.
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According to this document consulted by AFP, Defense spending will increase by 68% in 2024 compared to the previous year and reach 10,800 billion rubles (106 billion euros at today’s rate).
Thus, the amount allocated for Defense will represent approximately 30% of total federal spending in 2024 and 6% of GDP, a first in the modern history of Russia.
The Kremin spokesperson, Dmitri Peskov, considered this unprecedented increase “absolutely necessary”.
“It is obvious that such an increase is necessary, absolutely necessary, because we are in a state of hybrid warfare,” he told the press. Before adding: “I want to talk about the hybrid war that is being waged against us. And this requires high expenses.”
This surge thus illustrates Moscow’s determination to continue its military intervention in Ukraine despite the human and economic cost.
The budget allocated to internal security will increase to 3.4 trillion euros (33 billion euros), representing nearly 10% of annual federal spending.
The priorities of this budget are clear, according to the terms of the document: “strengthening the country’s defense capacity” and “integration of the new Ukrainian regions” of which Moscow has claimed annexation, but also “social assistance to the most vulnerable categories of citizens”, a few months before the presidential election scheduled for spring 2024.
Conversely, combined spending on education, health and environmental protection will represent only about a third of the defense budget, according to Finance Ministry figures.
In total, federal spending will increase to 36,661 billion rubles (359 billion euros), a spectacular jump of more than 20% compared to 2023.
However, the government has barely explained how it was going to finance this significant increase, at the very moment when, according to Prime Minister Mikhail Michoustine last Friday, revenues from the sale of hydrocarbons will be in sharp decline and will represent in 2024 “a third of the (budget) for next year”, compared to almost half before the offensive in Ukraine.
Previously, this sector drove Russian growth, but hydrocarbons are seeing their share decline under the weight of international sanctions and the determination of Europeans to end their energy dependence on Moscow.
A sign, finally, that the government expects delicate coming months for the national economy, he said he had made his forecasts for the budget with the hypothesis of a dollar worth around 90 rubles, thus counting on the weakening of the national currency in the medium term.
The budget bill for 2024-2026 is due to arrive in the Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament, on Friday.