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Putin Stresses Need to Re-Profile Military Plants After Defense Spending Surge

President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that although the country's defense sector was undergoing "unprecedented" expansion, such manufacturers risk becoming "oversized and unneeded" if state funding dries up.

Putin said in his annual State of the Nation address that the $700 billion set aside to modernize Russia's weaponry would keep such manufacturers at full capacity until the program concludes in 2020.

After 2020, defense enterprises must ensure that they "can eventually switch to producing consumer products demanded on domestic and foreign markets," he said.

Putin noted that the defense sector employs about 2 million people who are the breadwinners for about 7 million.

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