russian soldiers Sergey Nikolaev/ZumaPress

Russische defensiebegroting is onverdedigbaar

PARIJS – Op 9 mei hield Rusland zijn grootste militaire parade sinds het Sovjettijdperk. Geheel in lijn met de traditie was het Rode Plein gevuld met de nieuwste uitrusting van het leger, inclusief de nieuwe T-14 ‘Armata’-tank. En het publiek had, ook geheel in lijn met de traditie,snel een grap paraat toen de tank het tijdens de generale repetitie van de parade begaf: ‘de Armata-tank heeft werkelijk een kracht zonder weerga; één bataljon is in staat de gehele Russische begroting te vernietigen!’

De grap, alhoewel overdreven (elke tank kost ongeveer 8 miljoen dollar), onderstreepte een andere terugval naar de Sovjetperiode: teveel uitgeven aan het leger. Er bestaat geen twijfel meer over dat de militaire uitgaven van het Kremlin de financiële positie van Rusland bedreigen, die al ondermijnd was door de lage olieprijzen en economische sancties van het Westen. En deze uitgeefwoedevertoont geen tekenen van afvlakking. In de afgelopen maanden is de groei van de militaire bestedingen sterk versneld, en overstijgt deze zelfs de al ambitieuze plannen van de autoriteiten.

De begroting die Rusland afgelopen zomer voor 2015 neerlegde was gebaseerd op de aanname dat de olieprijzen rond de 100 dollar per vat zouden blijven, met een jaarlijkse bbp-groei en inflatie van respectievelijk 2% en 5%. Toen stortten de olieprijzen in, kromp de economie en steeg de inflatietot boven de 10%. De Russischeoverheid accepteerde deze realiteit maar langzaam, en president Vladimir Poetin ondertekende pas afgelopen maand eenaangepaste begroting.

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