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Putin Ousts 20 Generals The Day Before Victoria Day Parade

Russian President Vladimir Putin shook the Kremlin by removing 20 generals a day before Moscow’s Victory Day Parade Saturday celebrating the 70th anniversary of Germany’s defeat in World War II.

Moscow is hosting leaders from all over the world to witness the event Saturday, causing some confusion as to the timing of Putin’s presidential decree, Business Insider reports.

The Russian military bears a strong presence in the parade.

Among those removed include Lieutenant General of Police Sergey Lavrov and Andrei Pilipchuk, head of media relations in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Over the past year, Putin has worked tirelessly at bringing the Russian military into the modern era. A new military doctrine was released in December, which by and large is just a revision of military doctrine introduced in February 2010. While political scientist Olga Oliker of RAND Corp. noted that the tone of the document shifted to include concerns about the West attempting to subvert Russia using information warfare, the specifics remain much the same.

As concern about the West builds from deep within Russia, Putin’s plans to boost the military and replace old, Soviet-era weaponry have hit a snag: a lagging economy.

“The modern Russian economy just does not generate enough resources to finance the current 2011-2020 rearmament program,” Russian defense think tank CAST said in a recent report. “This seriously reduces the ability to efficiently renew the Russian armed forces’ equipment.”

According to estimates from CAST, Russian ranks either 7th or 8th in the world for defense spending. However, regardless of defense spending cuts and delays, what is certain is that since Putin took the reins, the Russian military has strengthened considerably. Russia boasts the third largest air force in the world, and additionally, the most tanks out of any other country. Not since the Cold War has Russia presented such a strong military front.

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