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Sergei Ivanov:"We consider a 50:50 ratio ideal by 2010: 50% for maintenance and 50% for development [of arms] and military training"
"We consider a 50:50 ratio ideal by 2010: 50% for maintenance and 50% for development [of arms] and military training," Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said at a meeting with President Vladimir Putin. According to Mr. Ivanov, in 2005 the ratio will be 60:40. "The 2005 budget allocates 471 billion rubles [29 rubles is approximately $1]," he said. "However, taking into consideration a number of programs, first of all, the federal targeted program, connected with the fulfillment of social commitments to servicemen and the construction of military facilities, the total sum in the interests of the Defense Ministry will stand at 573 billion rubles. "This will make it possible for us to accomplish our main strategic objective in 2005. The expenditures for the maintenance of the armed forces will amount to 60% and for development will be 40%." For comparison, he added, that ratio in 2001was 70:30. The minister said that the Defense Ministry was satisfied with its work with the Finance Ministry and the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, as far as the parameters of the military items in the 2005 budget were concerned. "In the process of working on the budget," he said, "we succeeded in convincing, by citing facts and figures, the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade and the Finance Ministry of the necessity of increasing the [military] spending, and it was increased by 30 billion for the state arms program. This is one of the key aspects." Mr. Ivanov also said that next year the ministry would be able to spend much more on purchasing arms and less on research, experimental and design work. "In the past few years," he said, "much money was spent on research, experimental and design work, but now much more will be used for purchases." He also noted: "I do not want everything to look optimistic. There are also some problems with the budget. First of all, this concerns the construction of housing for servicemen." The minister mentioned the commitments to solve the housing problem by 2015. "I already spoke about it with the finance minister at a government session," he said, "and we have decided to find an additional 2 billion rubles for these purposes." The second problem, according to him, is the growing tariffs on electricity combustible materials, lubricants and transportation services. "The tariffs on these services are growing faster than inflation and in a greater amount than the adopted budget specified," he said. "We are slightly concerned about it all, and we will attentively follow the situation."
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