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Russia to boost defence budget by 25 percent

The aircraft-carrier "Admiral Kuznetsov" at port in Murmansk. The Russian defence budget will increase by 25 percent next year as the navy and other divisions of the armed forces will invest in new weapons. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Russia’s finance ministry unveils direction of 2013-2015 budgets, presenting a rise in defence spending by 25.8 percent next year. Education and health care are the losers.

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The finance ministry delivers what President Vladimir Putin ordered on the day of his inauguration on May 7. The President then issued several decrees on boosting defense spending.

On Wednesday, the document entitled “The main directions of budget policy for 2013 and the planning period of 2014 and 2015” was published on the Ministry of Finance’s portal. The 115 pages long document outlines a budget plan for the next three years. The post “National Defence” on page 30 shows the plan to rise the spending by 25.8 percent in 2013. In real money it means a defence budget of 2.3 trillion rubles (€58 billion), up from 1.9 trillion (€48 billion) in 2012.

The document also signals the directions for the budget years 2014 and 2015. An additional 18.2 percent increase to defence posts in the budget will come in 2014, up to 2.7 trillion rubles. Another 3.4 percent increase is stipulated for 2015 to  2.86 trillion rubles. 

The following post in the line table is “National Security and Law Enforcement” which gets an 9 percent increase next year.

The document will form the basis for the 2013 budget to be presented by Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev later this year. Interesting to note is that the budget plan stipulates an oil price of $92 for a barrel next year.

The losers in the budget plan are education, health and culture.

While the education budget increased by 11 percent this year compared with 2011, it will decrease by nearly 3 percent next year, to be followed by another decrease of 6 percent in 2014 before it again will increase by 5 percent in 2015.

The health budget will drop significantly from 554.7 billion rubles in 2012 to 383.3 billion rubles in 2015, the budget plan reads.  

Also culture will get a decrease in 2013 and 2014 with 2.5 percent and 1.2 percent respectively.  

The total budget for 2013 is stipulated to be 12,745 billion rubles.

In September last year, Russia’s long-lasting and highly influential finance minister Alexei Kudrin resigned from his post in the government, saying the defence spending was becoming overextended.  As reported by BarentsObserver, Kudrin said he had been increasingly disturbed by the risks posed to Russia’s budget by social and defence spending.

In the current budget year, Russia doubled the pay-checks to servicemen of the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of the Interior, as reported by BarentsObserver.