News / Europe

Russia to Spend $730 Billion on New Weapons

Multimedia

Anya Ardayeva

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has announced his government plans to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on weapons modernization by 2020. In his address to parliament earlier this year, Putin said Russia must be strong enough to fend off any threats from abroad, so missile production will double starting in 2013.  Analysts in Moscow say this ambitious plan is intended mainly to preserve the government's domestic and regional influence.

Upgrade

Russia plans to spend $730 billion by 2020 to upgrade and re-arm its military.  That's nearly $20 million a day.  

The new state arms procurement program includes purchases of eight missile-carrying strategic submarines equipped with Bulava ballistic missiles.  Plus 600 aircraft and S-400 and S-500 air defense systems.  The arms purchases, both at home and abroad, would allow Russia to raise the proportion of modern weaponry in its arsenal to 70 percent by 2020.

Independent military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer says upgrading the strategic nuclear forces is at the top of the list, but the rest of the military needs a boost as well.

"Then there's of course the air force, the air defense system, the army - actually, everything needs re-arming because right now they say that [only] 10-15 percent of our weaponry is modern," Felgenhauer noted.

Budget increase

As Russia exports weapons worth billions of dollars abroad, the country's armed forces are mostly equipped with outdated Soviet-era weaponry.  In the last 10 years the government has increased the defense budget tenfold, says Felgenhauer, but still failed to bring the military up to date.  

"Now the present defense minister says that there was massive misappropriation of funds," Felgenhauer added.  "The Russian defense industry, which is also downgraded, and its capabilities are much smaller than in Soviet times, responded to more funding by just raising prices.  They are producing the same several fighters or missiles, but for a much bigger price."

Foreign threats

Prime Minister Putin says it is necessary to spend billions on re-arming the military due to the need to fend off foreign threats.  But while that will demonstrate Russia's military might, analysts say the main goal really is to create more business for the country's military-defense complex ahead of next year's presidential and parliamentary elections.

"Russia has inherited a large military-industrial potential and unfortunately, no real conversion from the military production to the civil production has occurred," noted Yevgeny Volk, a political analyst Yeltsin Foundation in Moscow.  "So [the military spending plan is necessary] in order to provide more working places, more jobs, more people involved in this production who are really the electorate for Mr. Putin pending the parliamentary and presidential elections in Russia."

The new proposed arms import plan is expected to come in two stages.  In the first, Russia would purchase equipment and licenses, and in the second, it would set up joint ventures with Western arms providers, and begin production of Western-designed weapons systems inside the country.  In post-Soviet Russia, analysts say, "military" mostly means "business" - no matter what ideological wrapping it has.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid