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Russia preparing ‘victory budget’ – finance minister

Anton Siluanov has outlined Moscow’s financial priorities for 2024-2026

Russia’s main focus for the next three years will be on funding its military to help it achieve victory in the Ukraine conflict, although the country’s authorities do not plan to renege on their social policy commitments, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has said. According to official figures, Moscow plans to spend 14.2 trillion rubles ($158 billion) on defense and national security in 2024.

In an interview with the Russian daily Izvestia on Thursday, Siluanov noted that the West’s unprecedented sanctions against Moscow over the Ukraine conflict have presented tough challenges for the Russian government. “But we already understand the situation, and know how to act,” he said, adding that against this backdrop, the country’s GDP is projected to grow 3.5% in 2023.

The minister said that the 2024-2026 budget plan, which was signed by President Vladimir Putin last month, prioritizes military spending.

“In the current conditions, the main task is to financially support the goals of the special military operation. We, together with the parliament, have described the three-year financial plan as a victory budget.”

Siluanov added that around 10-11% of the budget would be allocated to spurring economic growth, adding that while in relative terms these expenditures had decreased, in nominal terms this had not happened.

“The well-being of citizens depends on economic growth. Despite all the restrictions, support for the economy is an extremely important part of the budget,” he stressed.

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According to the Russian Finance Ministry, Moscow plans to allocate nearly 39% of the total budget to defense and security spending, around 10.8 trillion ($120 billion) and 3.4 trillion rubles ($38 billion), respectively. Following the first year, the national security budget is expected to decrease, although not drastically.

Meanwhile, according to the ministry’s data, Moscow plans to earmark around $86 billion for welfare spending in 2024, with the figure forecasted to remain at the same level in the following two years.

The budget will have a deficit; however, it is not expected to exceed 1% of the country’s GDP. Commenting on the issue, Siluanov described the gap as “controlled and non-critical,” adding that Moscow’s goal is to fulfill all its obligations to the population and oil the wheels of the economy rather than achieve a budget surplus.

December 14, 2023 at 04:23PM

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