Deputy PM and Ex-Finance Minister in Defense Budget Row

MOSCOW, January 23 (RIA Novosti) – Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who supervises the defense industry, criticized former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin on Wednesday for what he called Kudrin’s pro-Western and inaccurate comments about “Russia’s militarization.”

“My answer to Kudrin is simple: one who doesn’t want to feed his own army, will feed someone else’s [army],” Rogozin, a former Russian envoy to NATO, wrote in his Twitter blog on Wednesday.

Rogozin’s remarks follow an interview with Kudrin published by German daily Der Spiegel this week, warning of a negative economic effect from Russia’s recent boost in military spending, similar to that which resulted from the Cold War arms race. Kudrin also called for urgent political and economic reforms in Russia.

“Why is Alexei Leonidovich [Kudrin] playing up to the West, and spreading completely wrong statements about ‘Russia’s militarization?’,” Rogozin tweeted.

Kudrin lost his job as Finance Minister in September 2011 over a disagreement with then-President Dmitry Medvedev over the sharp rise in social and military spending. Russia plans to boost annual defense spending by 59 percent to almost 3 trillion rubles ($97 billion) in 2015, up from $61 billion in 2012.

Rogozin conceded there should be criticism of the defense sector, but said this should “not stir up panic.”

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