Putin signs Russia’s largest national budget, bolstering military spending

Putin signs Russia's largest national budget, bolstering military spending

Moscow, The Gulf Observer: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed a national budget for the next three years that increases spending by around 25% and reportedly devotes a record amount to defense as the the country’s military operation in Ukraine drags on.

The budget foresees spending in 2024 of 36.6 trillion rubles ($415 billion) with an expected deficit of 1.595 trillion rubles ($9.5 billion).

After the budget was passed by the lower house of the parliament, Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said it was developed specifically to fund the military and to mitigate the impact of international sanctions imposed after Russia sent troops into Ukraine in February 2022.

Record low unemployment, higher wages and targeted social spending should help the Kremlin ride out the domestic impact of pivoting the economy toward the military, but could pose a problem in the long term, analysts say.

Part of the Russian budget is secret as the Kremlin tries to conceal its military plans and sidestep scrutiny of its operation in Ukraine. But independent business journalists Farida Rustamova and Maksim Tovkaylo said this month that around 39% of all federal spending will go toward defense and law enforcement in 2024.