Keeping Russia’s (other) army fed.
Posted by democratist on November 11, 2010
November 11th 2010.
Democratist has been interested to read that Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin recently officially announced that Russia plans to spend $63 billion during the coming year in an attempt to bring her dilapidated armed forces up to date.
This marks a considerable increase over the original figure of $49 billion, and is part of a proposed decade-long $730 billion Russian military spending spree.
Democratist is not surprised to see that a great deal of this cash has been earmarked for military R&D, as we have already written at length about the implications of Russia’s pronounced and increasing national inability in the sphere of technological innovation for her status as an international political, economic and (especially) military player.
We continue to maintain that, in the absence of a serious political and economic reform program, President Medvedev’s project to create a Russian military innovation powerhouse (similar to the US government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), will suffer the same fate as so much Russian public spending since 1991, and that a big chunk of its proposed funding will be rapidly and unceremoniously trousered by Russia’s other army, of crooked officials.
So, while this announcement is unlikely to do that much good for the Russian armed forces (who are also likely to be scaled back as part of the “modernization” programme), it is excellent news for bankers, real estate agents, hoteliers and restauranteurs in London, Zürich, Nice, and elsewhere.
Additionally, as we have also already stated, in the continued absence of innovation from within the domestic Russian private or (especially) public sectors, or from foreign investors (and with a continuing “brain-drain,” as many of Russia’s most talented people leave to pursue careers abroad), regardless of any arms deals that might be struck with France or other countries, Russia will be forced to seek the bulk of the innovation it sees as essential to remain militarily competitive with the west through a greatly enhanced reliance on a tried and tested method employed extensively during the Soviet period; espionage.
But given the ineptitude, corruption and penetrability of the SVR, as demonstrated over the summer, the ultimate beneficiaries of such a tactic are, in the end, most likely to be….bankers, real estate agents, hoteliers and restauranteurs, rather than the Russian state or people.