Russia: January 18, 2003


The government announced that it was increasing the defense budget by a third, to $5.7 billion. Some 60 percent of that would be for procurement. The actual Russian defense spending, because many military items are in other parts of the budget, is up to three times this amount ($17 billion.) When you add in Purchasing Power Parity (the actual price of items compared to those bought in the US, the defense spending comes in at some $80 billion. Most of this increase comes from the nearly non-existent pay for most Russian troops. An improving economy and more efficient government administration had given the government more money to use.

The navy announced that this year's budget provided funds to send Russian ships onto the high seas once more. Russian warships will travel to the Indian Ocean for exercises and other ships will spend more time at sea close to their home ports. Through most of the 1990s, few Russian warships left port. There simply wasn't money available for fuel, or spare parts and maintenance work needed to keep warships seaworthy.

The army will run it's first mobilization exercise since the end of the Cold War. Two infantry brigades of reservists will be mobilized in response to a mock emergency. For over a century, Russia organized millions of discharged soldiers into reserve units and regularly tested the system with drills like this. But since the collapse of the Soviet Union, lack of money and interest saw the reserve system fall apart.  


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