Guns and Money (Part II)

Returning to KP, Baranets, and Pukhov on Russia’s defense budget . . . Pukhov continues trying to put Moscow’s spending in perspective.

The journalist says readers want to know how it is that the U.S. spends $600-700 billion a year on its army and Russia spends only $40-50 billion.

Pukhov says look at spending per soldier.  The figures work out neatly and they are dramatic.  Per soldier, the U.S. defense budget is $400,000.  Per soldier, Russia’s is $40,000 [probably much, much less in reality].  Pukhov concludes:

 “And it’s completely clear that it’s necessary to reduce this gap to a less dramatic magnitude.  Otherwise our Armed Forces will remain the poor army of a poor country.”

Pukhov tells Baranets and his audience that Russia occupies fifth place in world military expenditures after the U.S., China, U.K., and Japan.  But, Pukhov says Russia isn’t the U.K. or Japan:

“The problem is the defense missions facing Russia are much larger scale . . . .”

He points to Russia’s size and a nuclear arsenal comparable only to the United States.  So, according to him, it’s obvious Moscow’s military spending is insufficient and its army underfinanced.  

Baranets asks, are the condition of Russia’s economy and its defense expenditures properly correlated?  Or has it gone overboard with money for the army?  Pukhov responds:

“Russia’s current military expenditures and plans for increasing them in the next 10 years, including the State Program of Armaments to 2020 (GPV-2020) aren’t excessive, on the other hand, they represent the most essential minimum.  I recall that, according to the Defense Ministry’s own calculations, a minimum of 36 trillion rubles were needed for an optimal technical reequipping of the troops by 2020.  But the adopted GPV-2020 promises a sum smaller by almost half.  This really allows us to patch only the most obvious holes in the army’s technical equipping.”

Baranets finishes up asking if European MD is affecting the military budget.  Pukhov replies that development of Russian strat forces is already in the budget and GPV-2020, and MD doesn’t present a threat to them until after 2020.

Less argument with the end of Pukhov’s interview.  Just a couple points.  Look back here to see what General-Lieutenant Frolov said 36 trillion would do.  “Optimal” must mean complete rearmament.  But others claim they can’t do it for even that amount.  Still, Putin, Medvedev, Serdyukov, and Makarov are consistently saying they are buying 70 percent rearmament by 2020 for 19 trillion.

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