The Russian economy may have stabilized in 2015, benefitting from the devaluation of the ruble and the stabilization of oil prices. But it’s certainly not strong enough to satisfy all of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ambitions.
According to the Associated Press, the Russian military’s $400 billion modernization effort–which includes the construction of thousands of futuristic “Armata” tanks, among other initiatives–is coming under pressure after falling oil prices and Western sanctions have taken a huge bite out of government revenues.
The tanks, which Russian officials claim are 15-20 years ahead of Western designs, include a remote control turret, and is “as pleasant and easy to drive as a modern SUV.” Russian military planners also hope that in the near future, the tank “evolves into a fully robotic vehicle that could operate autonomously on the battlefield,” according to the AP.
But even as Putin recently increased his country’s military budget by 33% in order to help fund the modernization effort, analysts have said that it is inevitable that he will have to reverse that decision and spend less on the military as the Russian economy is expected to continue to contract through the end of next year.