Defense minister Pavel Grachev says that the money for defense in next year’s draft budget must be increased by 17-18 trillion rubles. He says the previous two years’ budgets fell far short of covering the armed forces’ needs, that last year’s defense spending was cut by 40 percent and this year’s by 160 percent. Grachev said the current international situation should in no way affect Russia’s defense budget: "The international situation enables all of us, above all the military, to live and work in peace without any fear of major conflicts."(1)
Next year’s military budget is pegged at 70 trillion rubles just for the defense ministry forces alone. This is about 20 percent of the total national budget. If other forces are included, and expenditures on the arms industry are added, the figure is nearer 40 percent. This is the kind of spending that doomed the former Soviet Union. Were it not for the parliament’s hardline complexion, Grachev would find it hard to defend these sums, particularly while admitting to a benign international environment.
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