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As Russia exports weapons worth billions of dollars abroad, the country's armed forces are mostly equipped with outdated Soviet-era weaponry.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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid