Russia Reports 2022 Deficit of $47 Billion

Strained by the need to finance its war machine, the Russian government said on Tuesday that it posted a $47 billion budget deficit in 2022, which is the second-highest since the break up of the Soviet Union.

The budget gap reached 3.3 trillion rubles in 2022, or 2.3 percent of the size of the Russian economy, Anton Siluanov, the country’s finance minister, said during a government meeting on Tuesday.

Russia’s revenues increased by 2.8 trillion rubles in 2022, or $40 billion, but that was not enough to cover rapidly increasing expenditures, which skyrocketed by 6.4 trillion rubles, or $92 billion, officials said.

At the meeting, government officials presented the economic situation as positive, with Mikhail Mishustin, the Russian prime minister, saying that “overall, those indicators aren’t bad.”

Making no specific reference to the war, Mr. Silanov, the finance minister, said: “Despite the geopolitical situation, the restrictions and sanctions, we have fulfilled all our planned goals.”

Still, the posted deficit for 2022 is second only in Russia’s post-Soviet history to the one reported for 2020, the year the coronavirus pandemic unfolded.

In the immediate aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many experts predicted a catastrophic collapse of the country’s economy from the Western sanctions and other restrictive measures.

The Russian economy performed above expectations, however, buoyed by high commodity prices. And some sanctions, like a $60 a barrel cap on the price for Russian oil, were introduced later in the year, softening their effect on the economy.

The Russian government has not published a detailed breakdown of its expenditures in 2022, but it is widely assumed that the bulk of the rise can be attributed to increased military spending. The government was forced to finance the deficit by issuing bonds and using money from its rainy day fund.

A high deficit is likely for this year, too. Russia plans to increase its military spending by a third, and Moscow’s oil revenues are expected to be pressured by the oil price cap, which forces Russian traders to sell crude at a discount.

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