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The Soviet Defence Enigma: Estimating Costs and Burden

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN 0-19-829118-3
189 pp.

Realistic appraisal of Soviet defence efforts is crucial to strategic planning and foreign policy analysis. Our knowledge in this area, however, is extraordinarily limited, as Soviet defence expenditure figures are incomplete. Official US estimates invite methodological, conceptual, and perhaps political criticism, and are less than satisfactory. This book reviews the state of current knowledge in this area, and presents a critical review of the nature and limitation of traditional approaches. It then introduces, for the first time in a single volume, the most recent and most original alternative approaches to the study of Soviet defence expenditures and burden.

The contributors analyse newly available sources of economic, scientific, and technical military information and provide a comprehensive prospectus of the prospects and problems involved. They conclude with an in-depth consideration of the relevance and impact of historical and cultural influences on current Russian-Soviet military strategy. What emerges is a fascinating account which extends our knowledge and understanding, and helps to illuminate what is perhaps the single most important 'unknown' in the study of international affairs and defence needs.


Part I. Introduction

1.1. Soviet defence costs—the unquantifiable burden?

Carl G. Jacobsen

1.2. Soviet national accounts

Gérard Duchêne and Dmitri Steinberg


Part II. New approaches

2.1. Estimating total Soviet military expenditures: An alternative approach based on reconstructed Soviet national accounts

Dmitri Steinberg

2.2. How Soviet defence expenditures fit into the national income accounts

Peter Wiles

2.3. How much do the Soviets spend on defence?

Gérard Duchêne

2.4. Estimating Soviet defence expenditures from national accounts

Kiichi Mochizuki

2.5. Estimating Soviet military R&D spending

Mary Acland-Hood


Part III. Historical context—future prospects

3.1. The Soviet defence burden through the prism of history

David R. Jones

3.2. The defence burden—some general observations

Alec Nove