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Alexei Arbatov: the military budget of the country should be bigger and made more transparent

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Deputy Head of the State Duma Defence Committee, deputy from the YABLOKO faction Alexei Arbatov characterised the draft of the main financial document of the country for 2004 as a "budget for stagnation". Arbatov made this statement on September 10 at a press conference devoted to the presentation of his new book "YABLOKO and the Army".

The military budget, according to Arbatov, should be raised from the present 2.7% to 35% of the gross domestic product: "However, such an increase will only yield positive results, if the military budget is as transparent as possible. It is impossible to conduct serious discussions of the military reforms in the present conditions, when 90% of the information on our military policy is made secret."

This was also confirmed by Professor of the Institute of the World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, General major Vladimir Dvorkin who was invited to the presentation. "A dense shroud of secrecy in such issues still allows the military ministry to avoid criticism," said Dvorkin.

Alexei Arbatov thinks that the Duma should sharply increase its influence on the formation of the military policy of the country: "At present the State Duma changes the military budget only by 1 or 2% during discussions [in the chamber] and only feigns to have some influence. The parliament should control the expenditure of the funds allotted to defence. This will require the abolition of secrecy for a large number of budget parameters."

In his book Arbatov answers the most acute questions dealing with the Russian army and national defence. They include the prospects of the transition to a contract-based army, the need for comprehensive reform of the military-industrial complex and a change in the decision-making mechanism in military policy.

See also:

Budget 2004

The Russian Army

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