We Will Bury You

Hard to ignore the news today coming from Russia. Some of links:

  1. https://www.yahoo.com/news/putin-boasts-russian-nuclear-weapons-104951271.html
  2. https://www.yahoo.com/news/satan-2-putin-tells-u-121319520.html
  3. http://1.http://www.businessinsider.com/putin-russia-has-built-nuclear-missiles-that-cant-be-intercepted-2018-3

A few highlights:

  1. Putin: “We aren’t threatening anyone, we aren’t going to attack anyone, we aren’t going to take anything from anyone,” — Why does this remind me of a Twisted Sister song?
  2.  Putin: “The growing Russian military power will guarantee global peace.”
  3. America has 652 deployed ICBMs, submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and heavy bombers, while Russia has 527. The U.S. possesses 1,350 nuclear warheads on deployed ICBMs, SLBMs and heavy bombers, while Russia has 1,444. The U.S. claims 800 deployed and nondeployed nuclear launchers, while Russia is estimated to have 779. Note that this is all limited under existing treaties between the U.S. and USSR.
  4. Putin: “I want to tell all those who have fuelled the arms race over the last 15 years, sought to win unilateral advantages over Russia, introduced unlawful sanctions aimed to contain our country’s development: All what you wanted to impede with your policies have already happened. You have failed to contain Russia.”

On the other hand, if you are going to get into an arms race….you kind of need to have the mula to back it up.

U.S. GDP = 19,362,129 Million $ (2017 IMF figures)

USSR Russia’s GDP = $1,469,341


This is 7.6% of the U.S. GDP. Russia’s GDP is lower than South Korea’s. The European Union’s GDP is $17,112,922 million.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)


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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

Articles: 1516


  1. “On the other hand, if you are going to get into an arms race….you kind of need to have the mula to back it up.

    U.S. GDP = 19,362,129 Million $ (2017 IMF figures)
    USSR Russia’s GDP = $1,469,341”

    For a comparion of the economies PPP values are IMHO more relevant than nominal GDP values as the weapon systems are mainly produced domestically.

  2. I would also point out that the Russian military develops and purchases all of its weapon systems in ruble and from predominantly Russian state owned defense companies. This is of course why they can conduct the scale of military hardware modernization they have over the last 10 years as well maintain technological R&D pace on cutting edge weapon systems such as hypersonic missile’s etc.

    A better question should be why when the US spends 700 bilion plus dollars a year on defense that they don’t appear to be able to develop and field a new Main Battle Tank, IFV, or range of hypersonic missile systems?

    Or why the F-35 will costs over 1 trillion US dollars over the span of it’s procurement lifecycle but Russia can purchase an S-35 for the equivalent of 15 million US dollars?

    • You cannot simply rely on official exchange rates, especially when production is arranged by military and civillian authorities (also disregarding economies of scope and scale for a moment).
      You need to establish a correct overview on how labour and resource intesive the construction and procurement process would be in that particular country, in order to say something about its accurate value.

      This even neglects the combat worth and its respective role its going to fullfill. The lack of new AFV designs in the US is more a consequence of their focus on naval and air supremacy (expensive type of conducting war and also to have worldwide presence), while Russia is investing into a “classic” conventional land army (the poor mans choice). Also: The Armata is not combat ready yet and is most likely not the finished product we are going to see, the US made a crewless turret system (the M1 tank testbed) in the 80s, speaking about “pioneering”. It is probably just there to impress the Russian voter.
      To this has to be added that relying heavily on the new computerized and electrical systems they installed is a risk, because Russia does not possess a matured computerized sector, which is going to impact the replacement rate and cause reliability issues. This rather says something about their mentality, a martial spirit and (tank) fetish.

      Anyway, making assumptions on cross country asset comparison costs cannot be done without having exact information on total military expenditures and a nations resource allocations.

      Russia cannot keep up high military expenditures for a long time (usually 15-19% of GNP in peace time) the US can. Putin is basically robbing Peter for Paul, i.e. in this case the average civillian.

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