As the Russian president Vladimir Putin sits out the war in his bunker, he is costing Russian taxpayers more money.
Expenditures of the federal budget for the "functioning of the President of Russia" in January-February 2022 increased by 40%, according to the latest Finance Ministry statistics.
For two months Putin's maintenance cost the treasury 9.3 billion rubles against 6.6 billion for the same period last year.
Presidential spending has become one of the most expensive items in the budget. In early March, it had used 34% of the annual budget of 27.3 billion rubles.
To compare: in two months the treasury spent 18.5% of the annual budget to maintain the army as it prepared to invade Ukraine, sent 13.7% to the Interior Ministry, and used 8.9% to support the national economy.
No other branch of government experienced such a sharp increase in spending, according to the data from the Finance Ministry. For example, the government's operating costs increased only 14%, costing taxpayers 879 million rubles — 10 times less than the president.
Legislative spending increased by only 2% to 2.12 billion. Funding for the judicial system increased by 18, to 27.3 billion.
The Finance Ministry doesn't disclose exactly how the money for the Russian president is spent.
Sources at the Daily Beast claim that in February, Putin conducted a massive purge of his administration's technical staff, firing about 1,000 people, from cooks and laundresses to secretaries and bodyguards. They were replaced with new employees to provide for the president's day-to-day needs.