Speaking before the Duma yesterday, acting Armaments Chief, General-Lieutenant Oleg Frolov indicated the proposed 13-trillion-ruble State Armaments Program (GPV or ГПВ) for 2011-2020 is not enough to accomplish the Kremlin’s rearmament goals. RIA Novosti reported the draft GPV will go the government’s Military-Industrial Commission (VPK or ВПК) by the end of this month.
From the Space Troops like his boss Vladimir Popovkin, Frolov is the Defense Ministry’s Deputy Armaments Chief, and Chief of the Main Armaments Directorate.
Frolov said 13 trillion rubles will guarantee development of strategic nuclear forces, air defense, and aviation, but the Ground Troops’ requirements for modern weapons will be underfinanced.
He added that 28 trillion rubles would allow the Defense Ministry to cover the Ground Troops’ needs, and 36 trillion—almost three times the planned amount of the GPV—would fully finance programs for the Navy and Space Troops.
First Deputy VPK Chairman, ex-general Vladislav Putilin responded that his commission hasn’t heard answers as to why the proposed 13-trillion-ruble allocation is insufficient for the military’s needs:
“In the Defense Ministry’s opinion, the armed forces will degrade under an allocation of 13 trillion rubles out to 2020. But we haven’t gotten explanations even though we’re asking: show us these horror stories.”
Putilin noted that the GPV is still a ‘working’ document at this point.
At the same time, the Audit Chamber (a GAO-type organization) told the Duma the Defense Ministry is not succeeding in using its allocated funding. Lenta.ru reported that, by varying measures, the Defense Ministry executed only 42-65 percent of the State Defense Order (GOZ, Gosoboronzakaz, ГОЗ, Гособоронзаказ) for last year. Also of interest from yesterday, SIPRI released its estimate of Russian defense spending for 2009–$53 billion (about 1.6 trillion rubles), good enough for fifth place worldwide. See also Grani.ru for coverage of the Defense Ministry’s difficulty spending the GOZ.
Newsru.com captured this story appropriately as a Defense Ministry demand for more funding. Prime Minister Putin and President Medvedev have vowed repeatedly to increase new armaments, from the current level of 10 percent, to 30 and 70 percent of the inventory in 2015 and 2020 respectively. What’s unknown is why at least one uniformed military man has decided to challenge the feasibility of his political masters’ long-term rearmament goals.