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'Russia First'? Putin Cuts Military Spending to Boost Domestic Programs

Russia is set with a new budget which plans for a major infrastructure boost at the expense of some of the Kremlin's defense projects

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Putin's Russia is cutting it's military spending instead of escalating the arms race.

Western Russophobic propaganda may try and convince you the evil Russians are coming to take over the world but according to the Kremlin's new budget that doesn't seem to be happening. In fact Russia is set to significantly cut military spending to allow increased focus on domestic issues.

These domestic goals include higher incomes, pensions, improved housing and health care. All sorts of projects that provide benefits to Russia's citizens and don't involve killing people abroad.

Perhaps other countries (looking at you America) could take notes and follow suit? The "D+" report card from American Civil Engineers suggests infrastructure could use some improvement. 

Christian Science Monitor reports:

With the tensions between Russia and the West so high – often being described as “a new cold war” – one might understandably assume that there is a corresponding arms race going on. But in fact, Russia's military spending is on the decline.

In the first strategic program of his new and possibly final presidential term, Vladimir Putin announced plans for a relentless focus on domestic development, to be partially paid for by sharp cuts in defense spending.

Recent opinion polls suggest that Mr. Putin's priority shift coincides with a war weariness on the part of Russians. A survey last month found that at least half of Russians appreciate their country's return to great power status, but 45 percent fault Putin for “failing to ensure an equitable distribution of income in the interests of ordinary people.”

“It's time for a domestic focus,” says Andrei Kolesnikov, an analyst with the Carnegie Moscow Center. “The plan looks quite cautious and rational. It balances various interests and appeals to different lobbies. Military spending is still very important. And how these grand declarations will be brought to life is still an open question.”

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