Armenia vs. Azerbaijan: Military Expenditures
Hetq has looked at Armenian Defense Ministry expenditures over the past ten years.
We reviewed official data in country's state budget.
As the below chart shows, ministry expenditures had steadily risen since 2011, except for a slight dip in 2020.
Between 2011 and 2020, the amount spent by the ministry has more than doubled – from 142.963 billion AMD in 2011 to 307.237 billion AMD this year.
To compare Armenia’s military expenditures with those of Azerbaijan, it is necessary to convert them into US dollars. To do this, we used the exchange rate announced by the Central Bank of Armenia on January 1 of each year as the basis for determining the exchange rate.
If in AMD terms the expenses of the RA Ministry of Defense have increased year by year, then in case of converting them into dollars we see that there have been certain fluctuations. For example, this year's expenditures in dollar terms are higher than last year, while in the case of drams it was the opposite.
Another way of charting military expenditures is to show their percentage share in terms of overall national budgetary expenditures. (See below)
Comparing the defense or military expenditures of Armenia and Azerbaijan, we should note that in the case of Armenia we have taken into account the expenditures of the RA Ministry of Defense, and in the case of Azerbaijan we present the expenditures of the defense and security sector, which refer not only to the Ministry of Defense but also, for example, the State Border Guard Service (SBGS), State Security Service (SSS) and the External Intelligence Service (EIS).
Of course, this increases the difference in expenditures in favor of Azerbaijan, but we must take into account that since 2018, in the Tavush section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, the Baku government has employed state border guards and not the regular army. In addition, in the war unleashed by the Turkish-Azerbaijani tandem against Artsakh on September 27, the Baku government has not only employed the regular Azerbaijani army and border guard units, but also mercenary terrorists shipped in from different countries. These mercenaries have been outfitted with Azerbaijani border guard uniforms.
The chart below compares the military expenditures of Armenia and Azerbaijan over the past ten years in billions of US dollars. This year, Armenia’s Ministry of Defense spent US$640 million. Azerbaijani defense and security expenditures topped US$2 billion.
Armenia's data is based on published state budgetary figures. Azerbaijan’s numbers are from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI; the World Bank also relies on this data) and press releases.
Photo by Armen Yeramishyan (April 2016)