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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russia Update: October 2, 2015

Publication: Russia Update
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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Kudrin Says Cost of Russian Operation in Syria Less Than Training Exercises

Former finance minister Aleksei Kudrin estimates the cost of the Russian operation in Syria as less than a large training excercise and much less than the war in Ukraine, RBC.ru reported (translation by The Interpreter):

"I would call these actions extended long-term training, since only the air force is deployed along with the maintenance contingent. This is not such a long-term operation. It is much less costly than the expense related to Eastern Ukraine."


Russia has not used or supplied air power in the war in Ukraine since July 2014 when Malaysian airliner MH17 was shot down by Russian-backed militants.

Kudrin, who has been critical of the Kremlin since he left office, said he supported Russia's air strikes in Syria. "I believe Russia must take part in the anti-terrorist campaign coalition in the Middle East, the threat is too strong."

Earlier, a source in the presidential administration contacted by RBC also compared the cost of the Syrian air strikes to a large-scale training in the Far East.

Kudrin's remarks were made at a business breakfast at the XIV Sochi 2015 International Investment Forum in the Olympic Park, TASS reported.

TASS quoted Kudrin as follows:

"We are now in a difficult geopolitical situation. The situation with Ukraine: we have to erase the borders. The situation with Syria. Of course those forces deployed in Syria do not require great financing. We have these resources, the Defense Ministry has large funding."

Vasily Kashin, a military expert for the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, also agreed. He said the cost of fuel for deployment of troops during major exercises is at times more than required to support an aviation group of three dozen bombers. He believes there will be no large-scale application of expensive high-precision armaments.

Russian officials have repeatedly made statements that they believe the air strikes in Syria will be brief.

The Kremlin has not revealed how much the war in Crimea and Donbass has cost them. A report prepared by colleagues of slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov based on his notes before he died estimated the cost at more than $1 billion for 10 months of the war as of May 2015.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

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