Reform tells you that change is in the offing. Via The Economist;
A fast-rising defence budget provided more money for maintenance and training, allowing large-scale exercises to become routine, while funding pensions and housing for retired officers. Mr Serdyukov also set out to instil better accountability and to attack corruption that, by some estimates, was siphoning off a third of the equipment budget. But the biggest reform was a ten-year weapons-modernisation programme launched in 2010, at a cost of $720 billion. The aim was to go from only 10% of kit classed as “modern” to 70% by 2020. According to IHS Jane’s, Russia’s defence spending has nearly doubled in nominal terms since 2007. This year alone it will rise by 18.4%.Read the whole thing, they quote our friend Dmitry.
A big question is whether Russia can afford to devote a rising share of its GDP to the armed forces. The defence budget accounts for over 20% of all public spending. A weakening economy, lower energy prices and an ageing society will lead to hard choices. But as long as Mr Putin is in the Kremlin, defence will come first. Russia’s growing military power announces that it is back as a serious country; Mr Putin is betting that this still matters to ordinary Russians, too.