Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has repeatedly stated that Russia sticks to the target of a deficit of no more than 2 percent of GDP by 2023. But in July he acknowledged the possibility of a 2.5 percent deficit. However, many experts, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), believe the deficit will be much higher. Last year it rose to 3.29 trillion rubles. In order to plug holes in the state budget, the government has used about 551 billion rubles – the equivalent of about $5.7 billion – in the National Wealth Fund this year.
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The ministry expects budget expenditures to return to normal after accelerating funding for “some contracted expenditures in January and February.” Publicly available data shows that Russia spent about two trillion rubles – the equivalent of about $21 billion – on the military in these months.
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From January to July, income from outside the energy sector rose 19.8 percent year-on-year. However, revenues from Russia’s main export, oil and gas, fell by 41.4 percent. The Ministry of Finance justified this by decreasing the prices of crude oil and natural gas, both of which are directly affected by the sanctions imposed by the West. However, Russia is on track to exceed its baseline target of eight trillion rubles in energy revenue for the full year, according to the ministry.