ON THE ISSUE OF MILITARY SPENDING BY THE US AND RUSSIA

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It seems that May becomes the reference point of 2007 military spending, for the US and Russia. The US Congress recently passed the 2007 defense budget ($512.9 billion, or 4% of GDP). Russia held a meeting of the military-industrial commission, which also discussed defense spending in 2007. Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said that the military budget will amount to 2.6%-2.7% of GDP, or around $20 billion. This is 25 times less than in the US. However, the Russian military state that they can achieve parity with the US without an arms race. Sergei Ivanov thinks that the main task is to increase the share of expenditure on the development of the Armed Forces to 50% of the military budget.

It should be noted that this ratio is one to three in the US. In other words, the maintenance of servicemen will cost the Pentagon $108 billion next year. Russia spends two-thirds of the defense budget on the maintenance of servicemen. In this regard, a group of lawmakers (United Russia and Motherland) have repeatedly proposed to consider the bill aimed at increasing defense spending from 2.69% to 3.5% of GDP. Gennady Gudkov said that the bill is also aimed at setting ratio of expenditure on the maintenance of the Army and new weapons at 50/50. However, the Defense Ministry objects.

The defense minister stated, “The Russian military budget will never be militarist. We will not repeat the mistakes made by the Soviet Union.” Ivanov said that the military budget will not exceed 3% of GDP. This indication is 3.2% in Turkey, 3.1% in Greece, 2.5% in France, 2.5% in Bulgaria, 2% in Romania, 1.9% in Poland, 1.8% in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, 1.7% in Estonia, Italy, Netherlands and Norway, and 1.4% in Germany.

In other words, the US defense spending is the highest in the world.

Washington ProFile stated in its report, “The defense information center states that the US spent $505.8 billion on defense programs in 2005, which was almost a half of military spending by other countries of the world.” (The total defense budget of the world was $1.0255 trillion.)

According to the report, this does not include expenditure on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which cost the US $81 billion in 2005. Expenditure on the wars will increase to $95.4 billion in 2007. It should be noted that this is almost four annual defense budgets of the Russian Federation. The Pentagon plans to spend $84 billion on new weapons, $73 billion on research and development. The Navy will receive $127 billion. The US will allocate $110 billion to the Ground Force, $106 billion to the Air Force. Russia plans to spend $5 billion on new military hardware in 2007. Repairs of military hardware will cost $2 billion. Research and development will amount to over $3 billion.

In addition, Russia will allocate $500 million to the Interior Troops and the Interior Ministry.

The Pentagon’s budget does not include billions of dollars spent on nuclear weapons by the Energy Ministry. Russia pays for nuclear weapons from the defense budget. The Pentagon’s budget does not include expenses on wars. The US defense budget has increased 7% in comparison with the past year. Last year the US Army spent $447 billion. The US defense budget has grown 48% since 2001. The Russian defense budget has doubled since 2001.

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