Disinfo: Russian defence expenditure is only $44 Billion


The military expenditures of Russia, which NATO was set up to fight, amount to about $44 billion, while the expenses of its European counterpart of the alliance is more than $280 billion, and the US defence budget is estimated at $700 billion. Paradoxically enough to refute the allegations of a Russian military threat.


According to the Stockholm International Peace and Research Institute, the Russian military spending has fallen to the sixth highest in the world in 2018, at $61.4 billion, not $ 44B.

In reality, Russia’s effective military expenditure, based on purchasing power parity (Moscow buys from Russian defence manufacturers in rubles), is more in the range of $150-180 billion per year, with a much higher percentage dedicated to procurement, research and development than Western defence budgets.

The problem is that both military and defence expenditure could be financed from some other portions of the budget. For instance, unlike Western countries, Russia spends its defence budget for nothing more but what is referred to as on-going expenses, a group that encompasses staff wages, property maintenance, and military drills. Funds for purchasing, repairing and upgrading the army’s military hardware, weapons and other materials come from other parts of the federal budget, which is to a large extent how Russia’s State Armaments Program is financed.

Vast amounts of Russian rubles are spent on secret budget items. U.S. public spending that is classified as secret, or what is called black budget, does not surpass 6 per cent of all expenditures. The amount of hidden, unspecified outlays in the Russian federal budget stands at roughly 60 per cent, a tendency that reveals the army’s financing is far beyond anyone’s control. What Russia actually spends on the military is much higher than it officially declares.


  • Reported in: Issue 176
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 04/12/2019
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: Russia, US
  • Keywords: Russia's Ministry of Defence, security threat, Military, NATO


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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