Russian military expenditure: What's behind the curtain?

Vasily Zatsepin


The article views the Russian defense budget as a representation of national strategic interests, priorities, and policies. Although Russia conforms to the United Nations' statistical standard for reporting military expenditure, several budget categories are hidden in other parts of the federal budget. Transparency in defense spending has been decreasing steadily. The budgeting process itself is cumbersome and opaque. Parliamentary control over the budget process and control over the execution of defense appropriations are limited. Importantly, frequent changes in the system of national accounting impede historical comparisons. The study finds that the low quality of defense management, dominated by members of the military-industrial complex, is a major problem locking Russian defense policy in an institutional trap.

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