REFUSING THE ARMS RACE: Russia No Longer Top 5 Military Spender

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MOSCOW – Russia’s defense budget in 2018 was $ 61.4 billion. As a result, Moscow will occupy the sixth position in the world index of military spending, composed of the International Institute for Peace Studies in Stockholm.

In 2018, Moscow reduced military spending by 3.5%. Thus, Russia lagged behind the United States, China, Saudi Arabia, India and France, which together account for 60% of all global defense spending.

It is worth mentioning that if Russia’s spending fell in 2018, the US, in contrast, grew for the first time since 2010 and reached $649 billion.

In November 2018, the Russian army was named the strongest in Europe. According to Business Insider, with a defense budget of $ 47 billion, Russian troops had more than 3.5 million military personnel, more than 20,000 tanks, almost 4,000 aircraft and approximately 350 ships.

Total world military expenditure rose to $1.8 trillion in 2018, marking an increase of 2.6% from 2017 and the highest total spend since 1988.

Military spending by the U.S. increased for the first time since 2010, while spending by China grew for the 24th consecutive year, the Swedish research institute noted.

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Independent think tank SIPRI, which monitors developments in military expenditure worldwide and publishes its “Military Expenditure Database” every year, noted that the decrease comes after a period of expansion.

“Russia’s major military modernization programme, which started in 2010, led to significant annual increases in military spending (between 4.9% and 16%) through 2015. Starting in 2016 Russia’s military budget has trended downwards.”

Due to a one-off government debt repayment of almost $11.8 billion to Russian arms producers in 2016, spending rose by 7.2% that year. Without this payment, Russian military spending would have fallen by 11%, SIPRI noted. “The payment also explains a large part of the sharp 19% drop in 2017: excluding the repayment, spending would have decreased by 2.8%,” SIPRI said.

This overall demonstrates that Russia is no longer interested in engaging in a costly arms war with the US and spiral into a uncontrollable debt situation.

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