Courtesy Reuters

Russian Defense Expenditures

HOW much of Soviet Russia's national product is she allotting currently to military preparedness? A partial basis for an answer to this much-discussed question is provided by the data in the following table, which have been assembled from Russian sources.[i] The figures given represent the defense expenditures reported in the annual budgets of the Soviet Government. Those for the period 1933-46 represent realized expenditures, while the figure for 1947 is a budget forecast.

Year Billions of rubles
1947 (forecast) 67.0
1946 72.6
1945 128.2
1944 137.9
1943 125.0
1942 108.4
1941 80.0
1940 56.7
1939 39.2
1938 23.1
1937 17.5
1936 14.9
1935 8.2
1934 5.0
1933 1.4

The budget figures for defense, it should be observed, are not entirely comprehensive of Soviet military outlays. One omission, military pensions, is not of special concern here, since outlays for this item reflect previous rather than current military activities.[ii] Beyond this, the defense figures apparently do not include the outlays of the N.K.V.D., which reportedly engaged in some military as well as internal police operations during the war. The expenditures of the N.K.V.D. in 1937, the most recent year for which data on this organization are at hand, amounted to three billion rubles.

In respect of the figures for postwar years, there is a question also as to the extent to which two other items are covered. One of these is atomic energy research. In the budget there is a separate heading "scientific research," which may possibly include some work on atomic energy. The total outlay for scientific research in 1947 is to reach the sum of about 6.5 billion rubles, which is three times greater than the prewar figure. The other possible omission is supplies requisitioned by the Red Army in occupied countries. Reportedly somewhat over a million Soviet troops were quartered outside the Soviet borders early this year. According to rule-of-thumb calculations, the total value of foodstuffs consumed by these troops probably would not exceed, at the very outside, five billion rubles per annum.

The presumption is that the budget figures do include capital outlays for the construction of war plants, as well as current expenditures for munitions. Since there is no explicit Soviet

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