Russia’s advantages are all short term. As they increase their level of control and subsidy they will exacerbate internal tensions — demographic, economic, flight of intelligent and ambitious people, and the other problems associated with tyranny. They didn’t let the Soviet Union finish collapsing. The Russian idea is unsustainable.
According to a report in Jane’s Defence Weekly, the Russian Federal Treasury announced late last month that “Expenditure on National Defense” will rise from 2,101.4 billion rubles ($58.2 billion) in 2013 to 2,488.1 billion rubles in 2014. This is projected to be about 3.4 percent of Russia’s GDP but over 20 percent of government spending. Another 16.5 percent of the government budget will go to national security and law enforcement.
By contrast, in 2010 defense spending only accounted for 12.6 percent of total state spending while defense and security only accounted for about 25 percent compared to the nearly 37 percent of spending they will make up in 2014. Jane’s notes that spending on “education, housing, social care and healthcare will all fall” as a result.
The increase this year follows what some estimate to be a 31 percent increase in defense spending between 2008 and 2013. Moreover, Russia intends to continue expanding its defense budget in the years ahead. According to the Jane’s report, the Russian Federal Treasury anticipates the defense budget to grow by more than 33 percent over the next two years. Thus, according to current forecasts, by 2016 the Russian defense budget will be around 3,378.0 billion rubles ($95.6 billion).