The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reported that while global military spending rose by 1 percent to $1.74 trillion, Russia’s spending fell 20 percent to $66.3 billion, the report said.
According to SIPRI’s data – Russia’s military spending fell for the first time since 1998, while spending by the United States remained constant for the second successive year.
Spending falls sharply in Russia, but rises in Central and Western Europe, said Siemon Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI AMEX programme. The Kremlin said in March that Russia would cut its defense budget to less than 3 percent of gross domestic product within the next five years.
At $66.3 billion, Russia’s military spending in 2017 was 20 per cent lower than in 2016, the first annual decrease since 1998. ‘Military modernization remains a priority in Russia, but the military budget has been restricted by economic problems that the country has experienced since 2014,’ noted Siemon Wezeman.
Driven, in part, by the perception of a growing threat from Russia, military spending in both Central and Western Europe increased in 2017, by 12 and 1.7 per cent, respectively. Many European states are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and, within that framework, have agreed to increase their military spending.
Total military spending by all 29 NATO members was $900 billion in 2017, accounting for 52 per cent of world spending.