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    STATE DEFENCE ORDER IN RUSSIA TO MAKE UP $5.1 BILLION THIS YEAR

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    OMSK, JANUARY 15, 2004. (RIA NOVOSTI). The state defence order for 2004 has been approved in Russia. It amounts to 148 billion roubles ($5.13 billion) "much more than in 2003" reported defence minister Sergei Ivanov on Thursday.

    He told journalists in Omsk (Siberia) that the defence expenditures are growing in the last four years but their share in the GDP remains at the level of 2.6 percent.

    The minister also said that in 2002 and 2001 a greater part of the state defence order's funds was allocated for research and development. According to Ivanov, this was done to create the basis for such types of weapons which will appear in 5-10 years.

    If we seriously talk about the army's modernisation then Russia will have, sooner or later, refuse to use Soviet weapons, said the defence minister. According to him, these weapons are good and reliable but we should go over to creating modern, precious weapons, including new space and missile complexes as well as communications means.

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