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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Poll: Windfall Oil Revenues Should Be Spent at Home

An overwhelming majority of Russians thinks that the government should spend record oil revenues within Russia instead of using the money for early debt repayments, according to a survey conducted in late June.

About 88 percent of respondents said the state should spend the money, which is currently in the government's stabilization fund, at home, especially on social needs, according to a poll of about 1,600 adults conducted by polling agency VTsIOM.

Nearly one-third of respondents said they wanted the money to be spent on health care, while 28 percent said the fund should be used for pension hikes. Another 27 percent of respondents thought it should be spent on agricultural subsidies, and 26 percent would use it to raise salaries for civil servants.

Almost one-quarter of respondents believe that windfall oil revenues should be invested in Russian industry.

"The results of the poll are not surprising, although the margin by which proponents of spending the oil windfall prevail is still striking and indicative of the pressure felt by the authorities, especially the Finance Ministry, in preserving Russia's strategic reserve," United Financial Group wrote in a note to clients.

The stabilization fund was set up last year in order to smooth budget spending and avoid an economic crisis when oil prices drop. It is also meant to "sterilize" oil revenues, which tend to have an inflationary effect on prices.

As of July 1, the fund stood at 617.9 billion rubles ($21.6 billion) after the government spent 430 billion rubles for early repayment of the debt owed to the Paris Club of creditor nations.