Russia approves 65 per cent defence budget increase

Didn't take Vlad long to sense an opportunity.

"…The annual budget will rise from the equivalent of £26 billion this year to around £43 billion in 2013 with much of the money earmarked for major hardware and equipment upgrades in the army, navy and air force.
The spending boost is part of an ambitious £276 billion rearmament programme to re-equip Russia's conventional forces between now and 2020.…"

Russia approves 65 per cent defence budget increase - Telegraph


War Hero
Book Reviewer
Good job we are ramping up our budget and strenghtening our ties the Good Old USA......Oh no sorry wrong again.
A drop in the ocean.

Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
It would be interesting to know how much of the massive US defence budget is tied up in personnel costs (wages, accomodation, food, pensions etc, etc) though.

Although the Russian defence budget is nowhere near the US' (and probably won't ever be), I wonder what they need to spend to be able to match the US, or even what they need to spend to seriously worry the US again?
I wonder what they need to spend to be able to match the US, or even what they need to spend to seriously worry the US again?
My bet would be that the Kremlin have been sweating that very question since the fall of the Soviet Union. Or possibly the one about how much they need to spend to stop being worried by the US.


Kit Reviewer
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Reviews Editor
Or just maybe they are a tad more worried about China. Must be great being the Rooskies with lots of enemies to choose from. Not like UK who are friends with everyone so are able to slash their defence budget.
My take is that they're planning ahead for the time when the US isn't bogged down in pointless conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the moment the US lacks a reserve, lacks the ability to project force and still prosecute current conflicts and as a result the Russians have been quietly but firmly rolling back US influence in the near abroad while making nice with old Europe. Both of these things conflict with US strategic interests but thanks to the frankly stupid choices they made post 9/11 there isn't a damn thing they can do about them at the moment.

So the Russians need to get their conventional forces up to scratch for the day when Washington will be in a position to do something about it. This means the (for them) unprecedented and siesmic shift to all professional armed forces. That's where most of the money will be going.
On CSIS Russia Plans 60% Increase in Defense Budget by 2013 By a very skeptical Oliver Bloom
Whether the large increases in Russian defense spending will make a significant difference is still up for debate. Even at their proposed 2013 levels, Russian defense spending would be only around eight percent of current U.S. defense spending. What’s more, there’s no guarantee that Russia’s proposed expenditures are even feasible. Earlier this week the Russian government approved the sale of approximately $29 billion in minority stakes of state-owned companies in an effort to confront its large budget deficit. While Russia managed to harness its considerable oil and gas reserves for much of the last decade to generate budget surpluses, declines in the prices of oil and gas, along with the broader global economic contraction, resulted in a current budget deficit equivalent to 5.9% of GDP. While Russia does have $467 billion in foreign currency reserves, tapping into those quickly could spark domestic inflation and also leave the country exposed to a future dip in commodity prices. If Russia continues on its plans to reduce its deficit to 2.9% of GDP by 2013 (931 billion rubles), it’s unclear how a military spending increase of 500 billion rubles in that year alone will fit in. Maintaining, let alone increasing, discretionary spending at the same time it is attempting to cut its budget deficit (a quandary the United States also finds itself in) will either necessitate large increases in revenues (in the case of Russia, presumably through an increase in the prices of oil and gas), or large spending costs in other programs.

Thus, while the announcement of Russia’s spending increase is news, whether it actually comes to fruition is a much bigger question. While the Russian government certainly has made a point of trying to revitalize its military after years of decay, fiscal realities will ultimately take a toll. What’s more, while there may not be much domestic opposition to the increased defense expenditures, it is unclear what military utility they have. While Russia would certainly like to increase its regional power projection capabilities, the large sums spent on expensive fighters and submarines seem to have little value except in the extremely unlikely case of a conflict with the United States, NATO or China. It’s unclear what exactly drives the desire for these sorts of weapons systems; perhaps an industrial base that relies on them, a defense strategy that still envisions conflict with the West, or a desire to maintain competitiveness with the United States.

Interestingly, despite the “reset” in relations between Russia and the United States and two decades of hindsight on the Cold War, the two countries continue to expend vast sums of money on weapons systems designed for bygone conflicts. While defense hawks in the United States who see us still engaged in fierce competition with the Russians may see these increases as further signs of looming Russian aggression, taken in the context of the United States overall military budget, and the larger questions that remain over the feasibility of the proposed increases, the increases aren’t quite as alarming. Rather than worry, one might really wonder why the Russians want to spend so much more when they can’t even afford their current budgets (though the Russians are hardly the only country spending beyond their means at the moment). As more details emerge about the proposed budgets, and as the Russian government and defense ministry explain what the acquisitions are for, outside analysts can determine what, if any, new challenges the planned Russian capabilities may pose, but it seems likely that the Russians will be prioritizing projects and weapons systems that may have less relevance in the 21st century. Ironically, the Russian defense ministry should be looking to the actions of U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates in his attempts to reform and cut some of the U.S. acquisition projects for lessons on their own defense future.
Looking at some of the kit they are prioritizing I think this is more about doling big wobbly chunks of pork to industry interests Pentagon style than preparing to cheekily roll their armor into their near abroad once more.

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