Ex-Finance Minister Kudrin says defence spending overextended

Aleksey Kudrin (

Alexei Kudrin leaves Russian government after 11 years. President Medvedev, however, promises sharp increase in military spending.


The influential Finance Minister announced his resignation on Sunday after Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Saturday made it clear that they intended to swap offices after next year’s presidential election.

Kudrin made it clear that he saw no role for himself in a future government led by Dmitri Medvedev. The day after he announced his resignation, Kurdin was sacked from Putin’s government.

In a statement quoted by Moscow Times Alexei Kudrin explains that he had been increasingly disturbed by the risks posed to Russia’s budget by social and defence spending.

Last week BarentsObserver reported on Russia’s state budget for 2012, where one of the highlights is a 100 percent boost in salaries for personnel in the armed forces and security structures, as well as increased social spending on pensions and housing for retires army staff.

President Dmitri Medvedev, who allegedly has been in dispute with Kudrin for a long time, finds no reasons to stand corrected by the former Finance Minister’s warnings that the defence spending in Russia is overextended.

- We cannot live without military spending, and this must be the type of spending worthy of the Russian Federation. Not some banana republic but the Russian Federation – a very large country, a permanent member of the UN Security Council that possesses nuclear weapons, Medvedev said while visiting a major military exercise in the Urals on Tuesday, Russia Today reports.

Military spending will always be a top priority for the state, Medvedev said.

- Those who disagree with this must work somewhere else. This is an imperative, the President said.

Russia will increase its military spending with $65 billion (€48 billion) through 2014, RIA Novosti reports.

Nuclear powered submarines will take a large portion of the increased defence spending. Brand new series of both strategic submarines and multi-purpose submarines are currently under construction at the Sevmash yard in Severodvinsk in the Barents Region. Also other nuclear powered surface naval vessels to sail for the Northern fleet will enter service in the years to come, as previously reported by BarentsObserver.

Earlier in September, the first submarine f the Graney-class sailed out in the White Sea on her maiden voyage. According to The Diplomat, this submarine alone has a price tag of $1 billion (€730 million).

- For the past several months, despite my numerous objections, some of them made publicly, decisions were taken on budget policies that without doubt have increased budget risks. And budget risks are connected first of all with excessive commitments in the defense sector and social sector that will inevitably affect the entire national economy, Alexei Kudrin said in a statement after his resignation, quoted by Forbes.