Opening the books
The week's news at a glance.
The Russian government has declassified the makeup of its defense budget for the first time ever, after pro-reform lawmakers threatened to vote against it unless they got a look at the numbers. Russia will spend 346 billion rubles$11 billionon defense next year. Thats more than double last years figure, but piddling compared with the U.S. defense budget of $355 billion. Boris Nemtsov, leader of a right-wing, pro-reform party, said the Duma needed to oversee military spending to cut down on corruption and waste. A classified budget means theft and human death, he told the Web daily Gazeta.ru. Everyone wonders why our helicopters crash so often. It turns out that no new equipment is being purchased.