Earlier this year, in an address delivered on the day devoted to the “defenders of the Fatherland,” the Russian president proclaimed: “Ensuring Russia has a reliable military force is the priority of our state policy. Unfortunately, the present world is far from being peaceful and safe. Long obsolete conflicts are being joined by new, but no less difficult, ones. Instability is growing in vast regions of the world.”
This is not empty talk. The rhetoric has been matched by a concurrent allocation of resources; Russia is now engaged in its largest military buildup since the collapse of the Soviet Union more than two decades ago, with major increases in defense spending budgeted each year to 2020. Putin has pushed for this program even over the objections of some within the Kremlin who worried about costs and the possible negative impact on Russian prosperity; opposition to the expansion of military spending was one of the reasons the long-serving Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin left the cabinet two years ago.
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Now the Russian leadership is again calling for Russia to be dominant in space. This is seen as a matter of national security, as a way to gain information dominance, and have the ability to fight for control of orbital space. Russian leaders have concluded that maintaining large and well equipped conventional forces is not possible (too few Russians are willing to join the military). Nuclear weapons and their delivery systems (mainly missiles) have been well cared for since the Soviet Union dissolved, and these are seen as Russia’s primary defense. To better protect the nukes, and make them more effective, having a large presence in space is considered essential. Otherwise, a foe could launch a surprise attack and destroy Russia’s missiles and render the nation unable to respond to a ground threat. Despite this attitude many military commanders would rather spend the money on elite ground forces, new warships, and upgraded aircraft. But for the moment, the Russian defense budget is backing a space based defense.
Full article: Russia: Preparing for the next invasion (Strategy Page)