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As Russia exports weapons worth billions of dollars abroad, the country's armed forces are mostly equipped with outdated Soviet-era weaponry.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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More