News / Europe

    Russia's Prime Minister Vows Military Spending Hike

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks during a massive rally in his support at Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, February. 23, 2012.
    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks during a massive rally in his support at Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, February. 23, 2012.
    James Brooke

    After weeks of verbal attacks on the United States, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has unveiled a massive new military spending plan.

    Putin's ambitious military shopping list this week includes: 28 new submarines, 50 surface ships, 100 military satellites, 400 new intercontinental ballistic missiles, 600 helicopters, 600 new war planes and 2,300 tanks.

    Watch related Putin video:


    Turning to the subject of Washington’s plan for a missile defense network to protect Europe from a rocket attack by Iran, Putin ominously promised Russia’s response will be “effective and asymmetrical.”

    Then, in a meeting with Russian military commanders, he praised the so-called Soviet “atom spies” who stole American nuclear bomb blueprints at the start of the Cold War.

    Finally, on Thursday, Defenders of the Fatherland Day, he shouted at a mass meeting of tens of thousands in Moscow: “We will not allow anyone to impose his will on us because we have our own will, which has helped us win at all times!"


    Is Russia embarking on a new Cold War? No, Russia holds presidential elections on March 4.

    Putin, the leading candidate, wants to lock down the votes of one-quarter-million Russians who work in military defense industries.

    One skeptic is Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs magazine.

    “My personal view is that all fantastic figures discussed today, they are absolutely impossible to implement," Lukyanov said. "Finally, it will seriously cut appetites both for defense industry and social expenditures.”

    The new spending plans would double the slice of Russia’s economy devoted to defense - from three percent today to six percent 10 years from now.

    Putin seems to be riding to an election victory boosted by Russian oil priced at $125 a barrel - near historic highs, and three times the lows of three years ago.

    But many economists warn against excessive military investments by Russia, a country with an aging population similar to that of Western Europe. They say that, if forced to choose between buying tanks and paying pensions, the Kremlin will choose social spending.

    Last Fall, excessive military spending provoked Alexei Kudrin to quit after serving for 11 years as Russia’s Finance Minister. He called the military spending plans “completely impossible.”

    Many political analysts believe that if Putin is elected president, as expected next month, he may ask Kudrin to return as Prime Minister.

    Lukyanov again on the ups and downs of Russia’s oil export dependent economy. “Any economic upheaval, which sooner or later comes, will be used by the government to cut all expenditures.  And they will say, sorry we wanted to give it all to you, but unfortunately we can’t anymore. That will happen, definitely,” said Lukyanov," said Lukyanov.

    Conveniently for Russia’s leaders, polls indicate that Americans show no interest in joining an arms race with Russia. Two weeks ago Gallup pollsters asked 1,000 Americans: who is America’s greatest enemy?

    Only 2 percent responded: “Russia.”

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora