MOSCOW – Russia is known as one of the only two true military superpowers (the other being the United States, while China lacks a truly massive WMD force). However, Russia is not the Soviet Union. This remark is often used to show Russia as a “mere shadow” of the former juggernaut. However, while the Soviet Union spent a staggering 20% of its GDP to fund its massive military, which partially hampered its economic growth and the citizens’ well-being, modern Russia is determined not to repeat such mistakes.
At present, Russia spends no more than 4-5% of its GDP on defense and yet, it is able to sustain not just parity with its primary adversaries, but also a very comfortable advantage in key military technologies, primarily hypersonic missiles (according to Pentagon’s estimates, Russia is at least 5-10 years ahead of the United States in this field). Countless times Vladimir Putin warned that Russia’s response to Western aggression would be reciprocal, but also asymmetric.
In other words, Russia decided not to mindlessly squander its resources on the military. Simply put, Russia developed weapons which turned the entire Western military doctrine into a quadrillion-dollar heap of worthless junk. Still, this isn’t enough to ensure Russia’s future. Many problems of the often-overlooked civilian sector have to be addressed as well.
One of the first problems President Putin has to take care of is the health sector. Expenses on healthcare will increase by almost two-fold, expenses on science and ecology by 1.5 times, demographics and education expenses will see an increase of more than 20%. These are just some of the budgetary changes for the next year and the planned period of 2021-2022. Vladimir Putin discussed this with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Russia already made significant improvements in healthcare since Putin took office. According to the Russian Ministry of Healthcare, in the last 20 years, life expectancy in the country has increased by almost eight years. Now, this number amounts to an average of 73.5 years in urban areas, and 72 in rural areas. At the same time, as Minister of Healthcare Veronika Skvortsova said, during the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, maternal and infant mortality has decreased dramatically. Although these are impressive achievements, more could be done and this is precisely what President Putin aims to do.