Russia spending $85 billion on army, report says. Devil is in (missing) details

Jul 01, 2023 09:57 PM IST

Russia-Ukraine War: “Russia's lack of transparency means there is uncertainty about the country's true military expenditure,” the report claimed.

Russia's military spending budget for 2023 is around 6.6 trillion rubles- approximately $85.8 billion- a new report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) stated. The budget is almost 4.5 per cent of the country's projected GDP, SIPRI wrote- an increase from 3.6 percent last year when Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Russia-Ukraine War: Russian president Vladimir Putin is seen. (Reuters)
Russia-Ukraine War: Russian president Vladimir Putin is seen. (Reuters)

Moscow's military spending in early 2023 “seemed to accelerate beyond the budgeted amount,” the Swedish think tank claimed. Although the rate of spending remained similar to that in early 2022 and "does not suggest any unusual surge."

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"Russia's lack of transparency means there is uncertainty about the country's true military expenditure. Analysis of Russia's military spending has become increasingly difficult as the government has limited the access to information on budget spending," the report said.

Read more: Vladimir Putin using body double after Wagner mutiny? ‘He’s hiding as…'

“In the spring of 2022, the Ministry of Finance stopped publishing details of budget spending broken down by chapters of the budget and by ministries and other government departments, revealing only the total monthly budget revenue and expenditure. The Federal Treasury also ceased its detailed reporting of budget spending, although with a brief relaxation that was later reversed,” it continued.

Moscow “is attempting to restrain spending on the war to minimize the domestic impact and enable the pursuit of policy goals set before the invasion”, the think tank claimed.

"The Russian economy can afford this level of [military] spending notwithstanding severe sanctions, while leaving open the possibility of increased war-related funding if the government considers it necessary in the future," the report noted.

Senior researcher Dr. Lucie Béraud-Sudreau said that the report "includes the official ministry of defense budget and additional budgetary lines from other ministries," she said, adding SIPRI's report also factored in spending on military pensions as well as payments to paramilitary forces like Russia's national guard and even Wagner Group forces.

"However, this does not include the total costs of Russia's war against Ukraine," he said.

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