Modernization or Militarization?

As it turned out during the parliamentary hearings of the State Duma Defense Committee on June 3, 2010, Russian military-industrial complex has already obtained the agreement of the Government’s economy block to allocate RUR 13 trillion from the federal budget for a new government armament program in 2011-2020. This exceeds by more than 2.5 times the sum allocated in 2007 (RUR 4.9 trillion) for the current program limited with 2015. 


Vice-minister of Finance A. Siluanov simultaneously declared that the Ministry is ready to increase Russia’s military expenses further at the expense of taxpayers, “In 2010 the volume o expenses for the defense made 2.6% of the federal budget. In the forthcoming years these expenses will grow. In 2011 they will be equal to 2.9%, in 2012 – 3%, in 2013 – 3.2%”.

Even if one assumes that “of the federal budget” means in fact “of the GDP”, the vice-minister has some difficulties with the statistics, since in fact last year the expenses for the section “National defense” exceeded 3.0% of the GDP and this year, according to the law on the federal budget, the allocations for this section made the very 2.9% of the GDP, that are for some reason intended for the following year, according to Mr Siluanov.

On the whole the picture of impressive financial and budget turn towards the military-industrial complex cast considerable doubts on the fate of not only troops training, exploitation expenses financing (let us remember only the annual blackouts at the Far East as an example), social programs of the Ministry of Defense financing, but also on the state policy in the field of education and health care, in which fields the expenses in Russia are several times lower than in the developed countries. 

At the same time the authorities of the Ministry of Defense went even further they promised to fully modernize the Armed Forces by the end of 2010, which will cost “only” RUR 36 trillion. 

However, according to the information of the Accounting Chamber of the Russian Federation, our state armament programs are not fulfilled to the state standards. Thus, in 2009 only half of the planned was executed despite the fact that the state defense order was financed to 100%. At the same time vice-chairman of the Military-industrial committee V. Putilin declared that the Ministry of Defense cannot submit any grounds for the suggested armament program. 

It is obvious that any connection between the people that are trying to sell the goods, which price does not exceed RUR 9 trillion, for RUR 36 trillion and will take RUR 13 trillion only in extremis and the state finances should be broken. Otherwise, there being no trend for transparency in the country, the motto of modernization will turn into that of militarization quite unnoticed. 

V.B. Zatsepin, PhD, Senior Research Fellow, Department for Military Economics