MOSCOW, September 3 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Finance Ministry said Tuesday that it can cut Defense Ministry costs by at least 1.2 billion rubles ($36 million) next year, by eliminating superfluous departments that essentially perform the same tasks as other departments.
The Defense Ministry’s organizational structure is “severely flawed,” and the merging of departments and subdivisions that have similar functions would ensure “significant savings of federal budget funds,” the Finance Ministry said in a budget-optimization report posted on its website.
Media reports said last month that Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had proposed merging his ministry with the Emergency Situations Ministry, as had been the case during Soviet times. The Defense Ministry later denied those reports.
The Finance Ministry’s report further suggested that by putting off certain defense expenditures until 2016, the federal budget could save between 250 billion rubles ($7.4 billion) and 1.155 trillion rubles ($34.5 billion) within the next three years.
The report also noted that the military should “reduce procurement of weapons and equipment from abroad,” as modernization of the Russian Armed Forces largely depends on the capabilities of the domestic defense industry.
In June, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said defense spending priorities should be shifted from arms procurement to personnel and infrastructure. A month later, a deputy finance minister said the idea was not to cut defense spending, but optimize it.
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