Russia to Spend USD 3.5 Billion on Weapons and Military Hardware in 2003

Russia is to spend 109.8 billion roubles (USD 3.45 billion) this year on equipping the army with new weapons and technology. This sum was approved yesterday at a meeting of the cabinet. As Rosbalt reported yesterday, the money will be used to purchase weapons and military hardware.

According to Deputy Minister for Trade and Economic Development Vladislav Putilin, the entire budget for defence orders has been increased by 33.4%, although he refused to give an exact figure, saying that it was secret and could not be revealed. However, the budget for equipping anti-terrorist troops and border guards with new hardware will rise by 1.3% this year. The level of financing for building accommodation for military personnel has also been increased.

The defence orders will be met by over 1000 firms. 'No objections or criticisms were raised during discussions of the draft order, in which, in addition to the Ministry for Economic Development, 25 government organs took part,' stressed the deputy minister. He was at pains to point out that the increase in the budget for defence orders was not the result of lobbying, but part of the programme to strengthen the countries defence capabilities and improve its security, which was adopted in 2001. A move to a single, centralized system making purchases for the armed forces will allow financial resources to be used more efficiently, said Putilin. 'This is the first time there has been a firm decision to hold single tenders for purchasing arms and equipment for internal forces,' stressed the deputy minister. He said that from now on only those manufacturers whose products are directly relevant to a given tender will be allowed to participate. The Ministry for Economic Development will be in charge of tenders.

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