Re-arming the arsenals

The Russian government supports the re-armament of the national Armed Forces

Russia is defining its military budget for 2010. At the end of October the State Duma, a lower chamber of the Russian parliament, approved in the first reading the federal budget for the next year. According to the draft budget, the spending for the national defense will amount to 1,253 billion rubles (about $43 billion under the current exchange rate). This figure in rubles shows a slight increase by 3.4% compared to 2009, but it’s much smaller than a year ago when the national defense expenses grew by 16% compared to the previous year. Nevertheless the share of military expenses of the overall budget spending will increase from 12% to 18%. It shows that despite the efforts to cut the budget expenses in the hard times of the economic crisis the Russian government is keen to support and strengthen the national armed forces.
But the parliament members criticized the draft budget, saying that taken into account the forecasted inflation rate for the next year the real volume of the defense expenses will be by 2.3% smaller than in 2008. The Duma’s Defense Committee also mentioned that the share of the national defense expenditures in the country’s GDP will decrease from 3.1% in 2009 to 2.9% in 2010. According to the lawmakers, this figure is below the level of the defense expenditures set up by Russia’s Security Council – 3.21% of GDP.
More than 75% of all defense expenditures in 2010 – 946 billion rubles will go for the armed forces. This article shows a 5% increase while the most of the other expenditures such as defense researches and the development of the nuclear weapons have been cut down. The largest growth is planned for the spending for the peacekeeping and collective security missions. They will skyrocket from 0.6 billion ruble in 2009 to 11.1 billion ruble in the next year. The most of this money – 10.5 billion rubles will be spent for the construction of the Russian military bases in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The Defense Committee also points out that the draft budget for 2010 calls for 10% decrease in the defense procurement. As the result the share of the procurement in the Defense Ministry expenditures will amount to just 44.8% compared to more than 47% in 2009. The committee stresses that it goes against the earlier plans to reach 50:50 balance between the Armed Forces’ re-armaments programs and operational expenditures by 2011. By 2015 the balance should be 30 to 70 in favor of the procurement, mention the lawmakers.
But on the other side, the procurement budget for 2010 will give more priorities to the purchase of new weapons and military equipment. The weapons purchases will amount to 65% of the procurement budget compared to 56% in 2009. The expenses for the repair of the existing equipment will contrary will be decreased from 18% to 15% of the procurement spending.

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