NEWSWATCH: “To pay for a ‘Russia first’ agenda, Putin takes ax to military spending” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

File Photo of Close-Up of Line of Russian Soldiers in Dress Uniforms for Parade, adapted from image at georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov with credit to Eric Draper

“… [At his inauguration] Putin surprised many … declaring … a relentless focus on domestic development … partially paid for by sharp cuts in defense spending. … [a] projected surge in spending on roads, education, and health care …. A key source of that funding will be [taken from] the military budget … growing by around 10 percent annually for much of the Putin era. * * * Moscow Traffic file photo … Sweeping reform of Russia’s Soviet-era military machine has been in full swing since the brief summer war in Georgia revealed its shortcomings …. beg[inning] with a major restructuring of the armed forces to create leaner, more mobile, and professional units … followed by a ten-year procurement program … [focusing on] modern, post-Soviet weaponry. File Photo of Russian Tanks in Military Parade Among the projects … suffer[ing] major reductions … Russia’s Su-57 stealth fighter … whose production runs have been sharply cut … rumored to have a great many technical glitches. Another program … [with] huge production cutbacks … the new T-14 Armata main battle tank …. older T-90 tanks are slated to prevail for several more years. * * * … Analysts say there could be another dimension to Putin’s new focus on domestic development: fresh efforts to mend fences with the West. …”

Click here for: “To pay for a ‘Russia first’ agenda, Putin takes ax to military spending; Amid the current worries in the West over Russia, the idea that Russia would be cutting its military spending seems counterintuitive to us. But that’s just what Vladimir Putin is doing with his new budget, in which plans for a major infrastructure boost are coming at the expense of some of the Kremlin’s more ambitious defense projects.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

[featured images are file photos]