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Euromaidan Press
9 Sep 2023
Bohdan Ben

The first massive protest during martial law in Ukraine demands redirecting money from the local city budget to the army in Odesa

For the first time during martial law, a massive protest happened in Ukraine in the southern port city of Odesa. Up to 1,000 locals demanded to redirect the local budget money from road construction to the army.
The protest in Odesa on 9 September 2023. Photo: Dumska

Officially, massive rallies are not allowed in Ukraine during martial law. However, in practice, authorities also don’t have methods to stop them.

Due to decentralization, Ukraine’s current legislation doesn’t allow the central government to control local budgets, even during martial law. This sparked outrage since local councils in rear cities and villages started spending local money on non-urgent needs during the war, such as repair and construction works.

In Odesa, the reason for the protest became several announced tenders for road construction in the city and suburbs worth nearly 30 million hryvnias each ($800,000). 

There are also opposite examples when municipal and regional councils decide to support armed forces and internally displaced people from local budgets instead of financing some local projects.

However, since this is conducted solely voluntarily, Ukraine’s Minister of Finances, Serhiy Marchenko, proposed to Ukraine’s parliament to change legislation and cut tax incomes in the local budgets during martial law in favor of the state budget. If implemented, the taxation change can decrease local budgets in Ukraine by 25% in 2024 and relocate this money to the state budget.