Our Analytics 22 december — 12:18

Why does Baku increase military spending after victory? (Our reaction)

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BY ELNUR EMINOGLU, AZERI DAILY ATHOR

It is planned to spend 6 billion 678 million manats on defence and national security, the maintenance of the judiciary, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors next year. This is almost 938 million manats more than in 2020. And it is 23.4% of the state budget expenditures for 2021.

Any step of Baku, no matter which, is now being considered literally under a magnifying glass. And quite often, this look is malevolently wary. Therefore, the decision to increase military expenditures of the state budget already raises provocative questions: with whom is Azerbaijan going to fight next, why, after a convincing victory, does it need even more money for military needs?

Western experts ask themselves: with whom is Azerbaijan going to fight next?

The situation is much the same with the increase in spending on national security, law enforcement agencies, courts and prosecutors. 'No less Baku is preparing to tighten the screws on democracy,' foreign experts argue with a clever look. 'Having won in Karabakh, Ilham Aliyev is preparing to intensify repression against his own people.'

There is one more category of 'experts.' Of those, you know, who do not own information, but have their own -- and the only correct, in their view -- opinion. In their conclusions, they abundantly use pitiful sweet syrup: 'Oh, those authoritarian rulers in Baku! The people of Azerbaijan have suffered enough without that, and now they are placing an additional burden of military spending on them. But no less than $1.3 billion will be required anyway for priority measures for the reconstruction of the liberated territories!'

In a word: 'The collapse awaits the Azerbaijani economy, truly we say to you,' prophesy loudmouths from Yerevan to Amsterdam. 'Baku will collapse under the yoke of expenses!'

The short answer 'Never!' will convince few people, and therefore it is necessary to consider the issue in a little more detail. According to the authoritative international sources of statistical data -- The World Factbook of the CIA and the Swedish SIPRI -- Azerbaijan's military spending does not look critical at all.

4% of the total GDP is slightly higher than accepted, however, for a state located next to the warlike Armenians, a state part of whose the territory was under occupation, it is quite acceptable and does not constitute a critical load for the economy. For comparison, this figure for Armenia is 4.9%, and here it is clearly going off scale. Israel, for example, has military spending of 5% of GDP, but it is actually a warring country in a hostile environment. Feel, as they say, the difference.

In addition, the increase in defence spending after the active phase of hostilities is quite obvious. The army was shooting, wasn't it? The air force was flying, wasn't it? Military vehicles were being driven, right? It means that it is necessary to replenish what was expended and lost on the battlefield, restore the vehicle resources, replenish the ammunition: the powder must be kept dry. And what about demining the territories that the Armenian side has densely seeded with all kinds of exploding filth? It is quite pricy too.

It is necessary to replenish what was spent and lost on the battlefield, to restore the vehicle resources

And at the same time it is also necessary to pay wartime allowance to soldiers and officers, pensions and compensation to servicemen and their families. Naturally, costs increase. There is no aggressiveness and nurturing of insidious designs here, just normal actions of an adequate state.

Now about the costs of national security, courts, prosecutors and law enforcement agencies. How these expenses can ever be presented as an attack on democracy, freedom and generally preparations for repressions against dissidents? More than seven thousand square kilometres of Azerbaijani territory returned to its historical homeland. And this territory had been under occupation and now is in a state of being some kind of 'wild territory.'

Now the Law will return there. This means that it is necessary to open police stations, district courts and divisions of the prosecutor's offices, departments of the State Security Service. To build buildings for them, equip these units with equipment and fill them with personnel, build housing and barracks, and do a lot of other things so that the Law in the liberated territories is precisely the Law, authoritative and inspiring respect. And all this requires money, money and more money...

One of the biggest misconceptions is the idea that after the Victory, 'paradise with milk rivers and jelly banks' comes by itself, and the country becomes just fabulous. Just the opposite. Victory is the beginning of a lot of work on the repairing and upgrading of what is now ours and no one will take it away. Hard and costly labour. But the Azerbaijani people will do everything they have planned. For the prosperity of their homeland. And to put to shame the 'experts' - spiteful critics.

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