The Christian Science Monitor

To pay for a 'Russia first' agenda, Putin takes ax to military spending

Inaugurated for his fourth official term as Russia's president Monday, Vladimir Putin surprised many by declaring what sounds like a “Russia first” program: a relentless focus on domestic development, to be partially paid for by sharp cuts in defense spending.

It may sound contrary to Western perceptions of Russia's global intentions. But the priorities listed in the new Kremlin strategic program suggest that Mr. Putin has decided to use what seems likely to be his final term in office to cement his already substantial legacy as a nation-builder.

The projected surge in spending on roads, education, and health care will have to be paid for. A key source of that funding will be the military budget, which

War wearinessA hold on new projects‘Our new normal’

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