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Corrupt officials pocket 1/5 of Russian military budget

Russia's chief military prosecutor says corrupt officials and general steal one-fifth of Russia's defense budget every year.
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"Say: 'Thank you.'" (ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

A fifth of Russia’s state defense spending is stolen every year by corrupt officials, according to Russia's chief military prosecutor.

“Huge money is being stolen - practically every fifth ruble and the troops are still getting poor quality equipment and arms,” Sergei Fridinsky told state-owned Rossiiskaya Gazeta in an interview published Tuesday. “Every year more and more money is set aside for defense but the successes are not great,” he said.

Every few months, Vladimir Putin comes out with a new scary figure detailing how much money Russia plans to spend on defense. His latest was 20 trillion rubles ($700 billion) through 2020, to be spent on nuclear subs, jets and helicopters. The numbers momentarily freak out the West, and keep Russia’s hardliners happy. Very happy.