BMI View: Despite the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact over two decades ago, Russiaremains an important international actor both in the Eurasian region and in the world at large. The countryretains some of the world's biggest armed forces and has its largest nuclear arsenal.
Russia has exploited rising hydrocarbon prices to perform a long-overdue modernisation of its armed forces.
That said, the ability of Russia to continue on its path of military modernisation was cast into doubt in earlyOctober 2014 when Putin's finance minister Anton Siluanov cast doubt on whether the country's financescould afford to honour the modernisation pledges made to the country's military. This is not the firstoccasion that there have been disagreements in Putin's cabinet over military spending levels, with AlexeiKudrin, Siluanov's predecessor resigning in 2011 over proposed defence spending plans.