Putin Risks Public Wrath Over Extending Draft, Doubling War Budget


More than one third of Russia’s budget is now being spent on defense, it has been reported, as the cost of President Vladimir Putin‘s invasion of Ukraine to the country’s finances and population continues to spiral.

On the heels of legislation to expand the pool of those eligible for military service, which includes raising the maximum age for conscription from 27 to 30, a government document has revealed that Moscow has doubled its 2023 defense spending target to over $100 billion.

One Russian economics expert told Newsweek that Moscow’s expenditure was “even higher” than this.

Details on expenditure for each sector of the Russia economy are no longer published, but figures reported by Reuters showed that defense spending in the first six months of 2023 was 5.59 trillion rubles, ($58 billion) or 37.3 percent of a total 14.97 trillion rubles spent in that period.

In the first half of this year, Moscow spent 12 percent, or 600 billion rubles, ($6.25 billion) more on defense than the nearly five trillion ($54 billion) it had originally planned to spend in the entire year of 2023.

Reuters also reported that the document estimated annual defence spending of 9.7 trillion rubles ($101 billion), or one third of the total spending target of 29.05 trillion rubles ($303 billion)—the highest proportion of Russia’s budget spent on the military in at least the last decade.

A boost in industrial production from the war is helping Russia’s modest economic recovery this year but the budget deficit is around $28 billion, impacted in part by falling export revenues.

As Moscow spends more on defense for its invasion of Ukraine, the deficit could increase further, while increased output could cannibalize other sectors and hurt private investment, the agency reported. Newsweek has contacted the Russian finance ministry for comment.

“Russian military spending is skyrocketing,” Boris Grozovski, Russian economics expert from the Wilson Center think tank, told Newsweek. “The spending for war is even higher than the numbers Reuters cited.”

This was because war expenditure also included police, secret services, money spent in the occupied territories and the costs for the repair of destroyed cities.

“The government has to spend huge sums of money to pay the military, as there are very few volunteers in Russia willing to fight Ukraine for free,” Grozovski said.

The Russian military complex is working overtime to try to meet the army’s demand for weapons and equipment, which has been the main factor in economic growth. Another driver of economic growth is the huge salaries that the state and private military companies pay to the military.

“These funds are used by military families from the regions to pay off their debts to banks, buy cars, renovate their apartments, buy furniture, and so on.”

Grozovski expects the Russian government will have to raise taxes while large companies will be taxed more on their profits and will have to co-finance private military units while civic spending will be cut.

Putin is expected to stand for re-election in 2024 in the tightly controlled political environment of Russia at a time when its citizens will continue to feel the impact of his war, compounded by sanctions, and the mobilization of troops.

Before lawmakers raised the maximum conscription age, all healthy men in Russia aged between 18 and 27 had to serve one year of compulsory military service.

The Russian parliament has also passed a bill that from October 1, men could face a 10-fold increase in fines to 30,000 rubles ($315) if they fail to show up at an enlistment office after receiving a draft notice.

There was a mass exodus of men from Russia after Putin announced last September a partial mobilization drive aimed at boosting his forces by 300,000. Since then a digital conscription system has allowed call-up papers to be issued online, making it harder for people to avoid joining the army. Now a new law prohibits conscripts from leaving the country once they receive their summons.


  1. “Putin Risks Public Wrath Over Extending Draft, Doubling War Budget”

    Really? Do the ruskie people have something like dignity and honor to have feelings of wrath for being financially and socially raped by their masters? Some of them, yup … most of them, nope.

    • He will just make up for it with his illegal oil and gas sales to India and China and continuing his theft in Africa. The West will continue to scratch their collective heads wondering how a criminal regime like Pupin’s gets away with everything.

      • If they really do wonder about the uselessness of their sanctions, they have smaller brains than even I would’ve ever thought.

  2. A boost in industrial production from the war is helping Russia’s modest economic recovery this year but the budget deficit is around $28 billion, impacted in part by falling export revenues.

    Nope the money is just going around in circles. Making something, then selling it to yourself is not helping mafia land economy.

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