WASHINGTON TIMES — Russia has long touted its military rearmament plan to achieve 30% modernization of the army and navy by 2020. Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin announced to the Federation Council the effort was significantly ahead of schedule, according to Russian state news agency TASS.
“We keep the situation under control from the standpoint of implementing the state program for armaments extending till 2020,” he said. “We are ahead of time. Instead of rearming the Russian Armed Forces, including the Arctic Strategic Command by 30% we have achieved 47% implementation. In other words, we are 50% ahead of our own targets. We are ahead of time. Instead of rearming the Russian Armed Forces, including the Arctic Strategic Command by 30% we have achieved 47% implementation. In other words, we are 50% ahead of our own targets.”
Modern Russian military hardware has been on full display in recent conflicts from Ukraine to Syria, where the Russian armed forces is battle testing new hardware and refining tactics. NATO has been surprised at the Russian show of new military capability. From launching cruise missiles to attack Syria from the Caspian Sea to SU-35 fighter aircraft deployed in northern Syria along the NATO, Turkish border, NATO military planners and strategists are noticing.
Eastern European nations, formerly Soviet satellites, have become increasingly worried about the Russian arms buildups, snap exercises, and behavior along the NATO border with Russia. NATO military leaders have begun increasing heavy weapons deployments in the Baltics, Poland and elsewhere.
The Kremlin has maintained its increased military spending in the face of severe budget pressure on the Russian federal budget due to Western sanctions and the collapsing price of crude oil on global markets. Social spending has been cut including education and medical care for the Russian population. Moscow has significantly curtailed the political opposition in the face of such cuts to prevent any social unrest.