Russia’s budget deficit for the first four months of the year has exceeded the government’s entire 2023 target due to increased military expenditure and declining energy revenues, which have put a strain on the state budget.
According to the Finance Ministry’s published figures on Wednesday, the federal budget deficit reached 3.42 trillion rubles ($45 billion) from January to April 2023.
During this period, revenues experienced a 22% decrease, amounting to 7.8 trillion rubles, while spending saw a 26% increase, totaling 11.2 trillion rubles, compared to the same period in the previous year.
Russia had anticipated a budget deficit of 2.9 trillion rubles ($43 billion) for 2023, with at least one-third of state spending allocated to defense and security.
The Finance Ministry ceased publishing monthly budget figures last year; however, Reuters estimated April’s budget deficit to be around 1 trillion rubles ($13 billion).
From January to April, Russia witnessed a 52% decline in oil and gas revenues, reaching 2.3 trillion rubles ($30 billion). On the other hand, non-oil and gas revenues increased by 5% to 5.5 trillion rubles ($72 billion).
In 2022, Russia experienced a total budget deficit of 3.3 trillion rubles ($47 billion), equivalent to 2.3% of its GDP, making it the second-largest deficit in modern Russian history.
Government spending in 2022 reached 31.11 trillion rubles, surpassing pre-war predictions by over a third and exceeding the amount spent in 2021 by more than a quarter.
Last year’s budget deficit was only surpassed by the deficit recorded in 2020 during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.