Recently, the Russian government published its 25.7 trillion ruble ($390 billion) plan for the years 2019-2024 [pdf] – Putin’s fourth Presidential term – for socio-economic development.
This is a quick summary on the request of a reader.
PS. Numbers are given using one USD = 60 rubles conversion. All end dates, unless otherwise indicates, refer to 2024.
Healthcare [$30 billion]
This program aims to improve mortality from diseases of the circulatory system, dropping it by a quarter. While Russia has seen major improvements on this score (dropping from ~900/100,000 in the early 2000s to 575/100,000 by 2018, it still has a long way to go; typical rates in the EU are well less than 200/100,000.
On the other hand, the goal of lowering infant mortality from 5.5/1,000 in 2017 to 4.5/1,000 by 2024 has already been half achieved (see above).
There is a major emphasis on improving hospital accessibility and prophylactic care.
There’s even a goal of quadrupling medical equipment exports from $250 million to $1 billion annually (while that’s almost a rounding error in terms of Russian exports, this would presumably imply developing a domestic medical equipment industry – could this be a protective measure against the prospect of ramped up US sanctions?).
Education [$10 billion]
- Nothing really of note – upgrading schools, more IT, etc. (Probably a good thing as marginal returns to more education spending decline steeply).
- Rise from 17th to 10th in Top 500 list of world universities
Demographics [$50 billion]
Goals include increasing healthy life expectancy, increasing the fertility rate to 1.7 children per woman (this would actually fall short of the figures reached in 2013-16; though it does tally with my prediction for the early 2020s), increasing participation in sports.
However, in terms of spending, the vast bulk of the spending – around 90% of it – will go specifically on financial support for families with children and preschooling. There will also be mortgage rates of 6% for families with two or more children.
I looked up the details at RT Russian [Google Translate]:
From January 1, 2019, the amount of state benefits paid in connection with the birth of a child in Russia will increase. Thus, the maximum amount of monthly payments to parents whose children have not reached 1.5 years will exceed 26 thousand rubles, the minimum – 4.5 thousand rubles. At the same time, the maximum amount of maternity allowance will exceed the level of 300 thousand rubles. For at least 140 days of maternity leave, the mother will be able to get 51.9 thousand. Assistance is provided for both employed parents and unemployed. Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the total funding of measures to support families with children in the next six years will amount to almost 2.7 trillion rubles. …
This type of assistance from the state is more designed for employed parents, since the amount of the benefit should be 40% of the average earnings for the two previous calendar years per one month. The marginal bases for calculating insurance contributions to the Social Insurance Fund for 2017 and 2018 are 755 thousand rubles and 815 thousand rubles.
Essentially, this represents an intensification of the pro-natalist policies that Russia has been pursuing for a decade now. This seems similar to trends in Hungary. Let’s see if it works.
Culture [$2 billion]
- Upgrading museums, libraries, etc.
Roads [$80 billion]
- General points on improving roads, building new roads, reducing congestion, etc.
- Jon Hellevig has a good summary.
- Reduce mortality from accidents by a factor of 3.5x.
- It is falling rapidly, as I point out, but reducing it from 12.8/100,000 to 3.7/100,000 would make Russia as safer as Spain (and safer than Germany). I don’t think that’s close to realistic.
- Graph above (blue line) shows Russian transport deaths / 100,000 people from 1990-2018.
Housing & Urban Environment [$15 billion]
- Make accommodating accessible to middle-income families (new apartments to be available with <8% mortgage rates from today’s 10.6%)
- Increase housing construction to 120 million sqm per year (currently 79 million sqm).
- Substantial funding for ongoing program of beautification of the urban environment.
Ecology [$65 billion]
- Not a typo. This seems a remarkably high number for ecological spending, especially for Russian standards. With this level of investment I think it should become First World in this sphere by 2025.
- First priority, to which $5 billion is allocated, is “effective disposal of waste… including liquidation of all unsanctioned landfills within city borders.”
- This is obviously a response to the garbage crisis in Volokolamsk, which has had some political ramifications [“The town of Volokolamsk, 120 km from Moscow, which has been a focal point of anger with the authorities for months due to their failure to deal with a rubbish dump that is poisoning the locals. There, Putin got 70% but with only 44% turnout, translating to the support of only 31% of active voters – that’s less than in elite Tverskaya!!“].
- Almost $10 billion on just the clean air program.
- $4 billion on clean water.
- 60% of spending on “adoption of the most modern technologies”
Science [$10 billion]
- Russia to enter Top 5 countries in terms of internationally indexed articles in priority spheres. (Skeptical; Russia is currently 12th in terms of articles published, and 18th on the Nature Index).
- Unfortunately, they don’t really clarify which precise index they use whenever they talk of international rankings.
- However, spending here is pretty meager, so I am skeptical about chances of success.
- Tripling numbers of “world-class” scientific/educational institutes from 5 to 15.
- Doubling Russian scientific journals in Web of Science from 260 to 500.
- Increase percentage of researchers <39 years from 43% to 50% by 2024.
S&M Enterprises [$8 billion]
- Increase share of individual/Small & Medium Businesses from 22.3% to 32.5% of GDP.
- Increase credit access to S&M businesses; create entrepreneurship centers; etc.
Digital Economy [$25 billion]
- IT spending to rise from 1.7% to 5.1% of GDP
- Increase broadband Internet access from 73% to 97% of Russian households (i.e. Scandinavian levels)
- Increase broadband access for all significant infrastructure objects (hospitals, rural clinics, schools, etc.) to 100% by 2024.
- 5G in almost all the one million+ population cities
- Russia’s share of world cloud computing market to increase from 1% to 5%
Labor Productivity [$1 billion]
- What it says on the tin: Increase labor productivity, management courses, etc.
International Trade [$15 billion]
- Various programs to promote Russian export sector
- Double non-resource exports from $135 billion to $250 billion
- Machines: $33 billion to $60 billion
- Chemicals: $17 billion to $37 billion
- Metallurgy: $42 billion to $57 billion
- Lumber: $10 billion to $17 billion
- Pharmaceuticals & cosmetics: $1.4 billion to $4 billion
- Agriculture: $22 billion to $45 billion
- Services: $58 billion to $100 billion
Transport Infrastructure [$105 billion]
- This constitutes well more than 25% of the whole program, and adding in the specialized “Roads” program, this means that transport infrastructure in total will account for 43% of total spending.
- Roads account for highest category of spending
- $11 billion specifically on Europe-China road routes
- Time to travel from Moscow to Kazan or Samara by road almost halved
- $15 billion on port expansion and construction
- Includes replacement of 8 icebreakers
- While all regions are to experience major expansions, my impression is that in relative terms, the biggest expansion (capacity +64.7 million tons) will occur in the Russian Arctic – makes sense, given global warming.
- $10 billion on development of the Northern Sea Route
- Eightfold expansion in cargo from 10 million tons to 80 million tons
- $30 billion on railways
- Of which $10 billion on HSR
- $5 billion on canals
- Almost 50% expansion in the country’s overall container moving capacity and 50%+ expansion in average speed of container shipments
- Improvement in Logistics Performance Index from 75th in the world to 50th in the world
- 35% increase in flights from 0.7 flights / capita per year to 0.95 flights per capita per year
- See my article Overview of Russian Airports & Aircraft Construction. (PS. Jon Hellevig is writing a more comprehensive follow-up).
- There were 105 million air passengers in Russia in 2017, so this implies there’ll be around 140 million by 2024. This would mean Russia would exceed Germany (117 million) and Japan (124 million), and come close to the UK (152 million).
- Percentage of within-Russia flights that bypass Moscow to increase from 37% to 51%
- Second part of the program consists of energy infrastructure
- Modest electricity generation program.
- Mentions the floating nuclear power plant to be installed in Chukotka this year (see Dawn of the Floating NPP)
- Bunch of new oil and gas pipelines
- Power of Siberia is ofc the most geopolitically interesting one and will be opened this year.