Russians against Kremlin spending money on Crimea or World Cup
(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Henry Kirby in London – June 4, 2015)
An overwhelming majority of Russians are against state money for health and education being redirected toward other areas of the economy, according to a recent poll by the Levada Center.
In the wake of announcements that Russia’s revised 2015 budget will increase defence spending at the expense of healthcare and education, poll respondents were asked which areas they would support healthcare and education money being directed at.
As the bne:Chart shows, 60% of respondents were against funds benefitting any other areas at the expense of healthcare and education. Just 16% of respondents were in favour of such funds going towards the development of Crimea, the Ukrainian province that was annexed by Russia in 2014, while 11% wanted to see the Far East region benefit.
Following the unexpected fall in oil prices last year, the Kremlin has had to drastically revise its original 2015 budget, which assumed $100-per-barrel oil. Since then, oil has fallen to $65 per barrel at the time of writing after hitting a low of $53 in January, inflation has hit double digits and the outlook for the economy has been revised from 2% growth to a 2.7% contraction, according to the World Bank.
When asked where they would prefer to see state funds going, a massive 67% of respondents said that they would like to see more of the budget allocated to raising the general standard of living of the population, with 55% specifying health services and 26% specifying education, as the second bne:Chart shows.
Support for state funds financing the 2018 World Cup was also very low among those surveyed, with only 1 in 20 respondents supporting state money going towards hosting the tournament, which is set to cost Russia just shy of $8bn of state and regional budget funds.