Russia took over the position of Saudi Arabia in 2016, despite the precarious situation of the economy, ranking third in the world in terms of military expenditure, after the US and China, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
Last year Russia has allocated 69.2 billion dollars defense budget, or 5.9% more than in 2015. This is equivalent to 5.3% of its GDP, an unprecedented situation after the collapse of the Soviet Union now fourth Century, according to SIPRI.
This increase in spending and the heavy burden put pressure at a time when the Russian economy is in a difficult situation because of falling oil prices and economic sanctions imposed in 2014 by Western countries following the conflict in Ukraine
Saudi Arabia, which had its third budget in 2015, dropped fourth in 2016. Its military spending fell 30 percent to 63.7 billion dollars, despite the involvement of the state in several regional conflicts.
As a result of the unstable economic situation and the low price of the oil barrel, many countries that depended on oil exports have been forced to cut military spending.
The US remains the No.1 budget, which increased by 1.7% in 2016 to 611 billion dollars. Followed by China with 215 billion dollars, ie an increase of 5.4%, less quickly than in previous years.
Donald Trump, who became president in January, made the army’s budget a priority. He has already shown that he will not hesitate to use force, bombing in April an air base in Syria and positions of the Islamic State in Afghanistan. He also threatened North Korea.
After a series of terrorist attacks in 2015 and criticized by Donald Trump for a contribution to NATO he considers to be low, Western Europe has increased its military budgets for the second consecutive year by 2.6%.
Almost equal to India, the fifth, France has its sixth military budget ($ 55.7 billion), ahead of the UK (48.3 billion).
The tendency for rearmament is sensitive in Central and Eastern Europe as well as in the Baltic countries. “The rise in the cost of many countries in Central Europe can be attributed in part to the perception that Russia is a bigger threat,” said an SIPRI researcher, Siemon Wezeman.
Even if Russia’s defense budget has reached a record high, the common defense budget of NATO member countries is four times bigger.