What 3 Billion Stolen Rubles Could Buy

Viktor Baranets

On Wednesday, Komsomolskaya pravda commentator Viktor Baranets recapped Sergey Fridinskiy’s latest military corruption report, but Baranets also gave examples of what the Defense Ministry might have bought with the 3 billion rubles [$100 million] lost to corruption.

  • 50-55 T-90 tanks
  • 75-80 BMPs
  • 3 or 4 Su-27 or MiG-29 fighters
  • 8-10 Mi-28N attack helicopters
  • 1 light frigate or corvette
  • 1 or 2 Topol [SS-25] ICBMs
  • 3 or 4 reconnaissance satellites
  • 300-400 apartments
  • food for an MD (130,000 personnel) for a year
  • uniforms for 300,000 or 350,000 conscripts, or 1/3 of the army

So corruption brings a significant opportunity cost in the form of foregone or lost procurement, and ultimately reduces combat capability.  Bear in mind this is, of course, only uncovered corruption.  The real amount is undoubtedly larger, but who knows how much.  And this kind of army corruption didn’t start this year.  It’s been delivering this kind of blow to efforts to operate, maintain, and reequip the armed forces year in and year out for a long time.

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