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Budget for 2021: security forces in the black, culture in the red

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Belarus will continue to increase spending on law enforcement officers / Euroradio

The Ministry of Finance has published the draft budget for 2021. We have compared it with the previous year funding for law enforcement agencies and state employees.

Elections and referenda

As much as 13.5 million rubles have been allocated to hold elections and referenda in 2021. This follows from the draft budget of Belarus, which was published by the Ministry of Finance on December 18.

In 2020, when the presidential election took place, this budget line was almost three times bigger: 36.8 million rubles. In 2019, when neither elections nor referendums were scheduled, only 538.6 thousand rubles were allocated for the activities of election commissions.

This indirectly proves that the authorities planned a big vote in 2021. Perhaps, it will be a referendum on amendments to the Constitution of Belarus.

Law enforcement agencies

Next year, Belarus will continue to increase spending on security forces. Internal Affairs bodies are almost 100% funded from the national budget. It is planned to spend 1.025 billion BYN on them in 2021. The 2020 budget was 915.7 million rubles, or 12% less. Even after adjusting for inflation, which was 6.6% last year, spending on the internal affairs bodies is growing.

The budget line "Defense and Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus" has 1.364 billion rubles. This is 133 million (10.8%) more than what was spent under this item in 2020. And there is an increase here, even after it is adjusted for inflation.

State workers and media

Spending on education will also increase in 2021 and total 1.291 billion rubles. This is 9.6% more than in 2020 (1.178 billion rubles). 

The national budget plans to spend almost a third more on health care than in 2020. Next year it will receive 1.668 billion rubles, while this year 1.274 billion rubles have been allocated for it.

But spending on culture will increase by only 0.7%. And that's after it was cut altogether in 2020! Adjusting for inflation, the government plans that culture will cost less next year than it did this year.

In the conditions of a budget deficit, spending on state media will not increase. On the contrary. In 2021, it is planned to spend 156 million rubles on this, although the budget for 2020 was set at 164.1 million. If inflation is taken into account, the reduction will be noticeable. However, spending on the state media still exceeds spending on culture.