The impact of falling oil prices on Russian military buildup.

The impact of falling oil prices on Russian military buildup.

Moscow, a major player in the global arms business, has worked to re-equip and modernize its armed forces in recent years as well as boost its international sales.

But Dmitry Gorenburg, a senior research scientist with CNA Corporation, a Washington-based think tank specializing in defense-related issues, says the drop in world oil prices, Western sanctions and limited manufacturing capacity may force Russia to slow those ambitions.

"My guess is that a lot of it will get pushed further down the road because they won't be able to afford as much as they allocated," Gorenburg told VOA.

Moscow has been implementing a 10-year state armaments program to modernize its military. When the program was adopted in 2010, its cost was some $600 billion. Under President Vladimir Putin, the industry gave it absolute priority.

While that push has increased domestic sales in Russia, professor Julian Cooper, an associate fellow at Chatham House, a policy institute in London, said Russia is reaching the limits of what it can sell. That, he said, has made it difficult for Moscow to expand its exports.

"My sense is that Russia has actually reached some kind of plateau on its arms sales and arms exports," Cooper said.

Russia, U.S. dominate

In recent years, Russia and the United States have dominated the arms market in the developing world. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the five largest suppliers from 2009 to 2013 were the U.S., Russia, Germany, China and France, totaling 74 percent of all exports.

Cooper said he thought Russia's total military spending next year would most likely peak at about 5.4 percent of its gross domestic product and then would start to decline.

"I think there is a very good understanding in Russia that there are limits to how much you can spend on the military before you get into dangers of undermining the economy," Cooper said.

Washington spends about 3.84 percent of its GDP on its military. But...

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