The Wall Street Journal reports on the sharp boost in Russian military spending, which is due to rise by over 25% to more than $50 billion next year. That may appear insignificant compared with U.S. defense spending(more than $500 billion), but it is significant indeed when matched against our major allies such as the United Kingdom and France, each of which spend roughly $50 billion. It is especially significant when you consider that Russian belligerence toward the West is growing as fast as its military spending–and when you take note of the fact that European defense spending has been flat for years. As I argued in this op-ed, the states of Eastern Europe, in particular, need to increase their military expenditures rapidly so as to deter Russian aggression. The latest news makes that case all the more pressing.
That’s a lotta AN-94s.
The AN-94 (pictured) was announced as Russia’s new infantry rifle a number of years back, but there wasn’t enough money to replace the Kalashnikov inventory. If and when Russia does adopt the AN-94, it’s a sea change not only in terms of the end of the Kalashnikov era, but arguably in Russian infantry doctrine. The Kalashnikov is a fantastic, soldier-proof, illiterate-conscript-can-use-and-not-break, pray-and-spray weapon. In this, it’s the successor to the PPSh and PPS submachine guns that the Russians used to such effect in urban and close-in fighting World War Two: get a bunch of guys at close range, charge, spraying bullets. Simple and effective. The AN-94, or Nikonov rifle, is, however, a much different beast: mechanically complicated, more maintenance-intensive, and much more suitable for aimed shots (especially using its innovative reciprocating-barrel two-shot-burst fire. If this were to become the Russian infantry’s main weapon, it would suggest a professionalization of their forces well beyond the conscript-brutalizing goon-squad blunt instrument that, in many respects, it remains today.
Oh, and yeah, I know they won’t be spending all that money on rifles. Duh. Confucius, your Volgi, is just a gun dork.
Don’t ask impertinent questions like that jackass Adept Lu.