An open-ended military operation in Syria, the confrontation with the West, support for the separatists in southeastern Ukraine may spell disaster for almost empty military budget of the Russian Federation. Critical economic situation in Russia, coupled with military conflicts complicate the lives of ordinary Russians, who will have to tighten their belts. This writes political columnist for the Frankfurter Rundschau Stefan Scholl.

“The economic situation in the country is critical. GDP for 2016 was reduced in comparison with 2013 almost doubled to 1.13 trillion, and was even less than the “problem child of the European Union” Portugal. And in view of the developments in the oil market the economic improvement in the foreseeable future is not expected”, – wrote in his article the journalist, quoted by InoPressa.

According to Scholl, the Russian strategists there is one big problem, namely the almost empty military budget. Russian Finance Ministry plans in the next three annual budgets to cut military spending by 6% to 31 urgent funding of the national project such as the construction of seven new stadiums for the football world Cup in 2018, the construction of protective dikes in the North of Russia and modernization of the children’s camp “Artek” in Crimea, said the journalist, citing Russian media.

According to Russian experts, the Russian army able to win the war pretty cheap, says Sholl. For the year Russia spent on the operation in Syria 940 million dollars, while for comparison, the cost of the Western coalition fighting against the banned terrorist organization “Islamic state” (ISIS, ISIL, DAISH), amounted in two years to $ 9 billion.

Russian military expert Viktor Litovkin, quoted by Scholl, explains that “the Russian squadron in Syria are scarce, and fuel and missiles are hardly more expensive than during military exercises in Russia, which now you can save”. Especially after the capture of Aleppo will fracture and the operation, he said, “will do cheaper”.

A German journalist, in turn, indicates that the Russian Federation has and secret items like the”group of Wagner”, which, according to information population reaches 2.5 thousand people. These professional mercenaries – mostly soldiers of the Russian army – was also a supporter of the separatists in the Donbas. The defense Ministry denies the fact that they are fighting in Syria – in contrast to the numerous witnesses and photographs in social networks. According to various estimates, they may “cost around 90-180 million dollars, and information about the source from which they are paid,” said Scholl.

While Syria is not the only place where Russia fighting continues, the German Explorer. So, in 2014 Russia supports the separatists in the Donbass, and not only military, but economic. The annual social benefits for being in a deplorable state of Donetsk and Lugansk are, according to various estimates, about 10 billion dollars a year, says Scholl. “So we fear that civil Russia once again have to tighten their belts” – sums up the journalist.

At the end of September, RBC journalists wrotethat Russia’s military campaign in Syria for a year could cost the budget not less than 58 billion rubles. 30 September marks a year since the start of military operations. Journalists based on public reports of the Ministry of defence and the government of the Russian Federation. The bulk of the costs came in sorties of aircraft and cruise missiles.

According to the Agency, during the year, the Russian air force flew about 13 thousand sorties, each of which cost from 3.5 million to 5.5 million rubles. The total cost of these crashes – about 50 billion rubles. Another 2.8 billion the military spent on the launch cruise missiles. In just a 365 days campaign was allegedly launched 56 rockets of type “Gauge”. The cost of the launch of a rocket “Caliber” is estimated at 750 thousand dollars.

During the campaign Russian group HQs have lost, according to official data, four units of aircraft: a su-24 shot down Turkish air force, the Mi-8 helicopters, Mi-28N and Mi-35. The cost of lost equipment – 3.34 billion rubles, said in the article. The contents of personnel (3000 employees) on the basis Hamim cost to the military Department 2.1 billion. Payments to the families of 20 dead soldiers in Syria amounted to 60 million rubles, said RBC.

March 17, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about the cost of military operations in Syria. “Of course, the military operation in Syria and demanded certain cost, but most of them are resources of the Ministry of defense, the money the Ministry of defence, about 33 billion rubles have already been allocated in the budget of the Ministry in 2015 will be the year to exercise and combat training. We just redirected those resources to groups in Syria,” said Putin.

In December last year, the Agency Bloomberg wrote that the Russian authorities initially planned to spend on the campaign in 2016 about 1.2 billion dollars. Then, it was reported that since the beginning of military action against terrorists “Islamic state” Russia has spent about $ 4 million a day, however, after President Vladimir Putin instructed to intensify the bombing, the expenditure has doubled.

Frankfurter Rundschau: the Russians will have to tighten their belts because of the empty military Treasury of the Russian Federation 20.10.2016

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