MOSCOW, MAY 25 -- In an open battle between two of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's key foreign policy experts, Central Committee member Georgi Arbatov has accused Gorbachev's military adviser, Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev, of trying to bloat the Soviet military budget and of taking part in "disastrous" military decisions during the 1970s and '80s.

Arbatov's attack on Akhromeyev, and on military spending in general, will be published in Sunday's issue of the liberal weekly Ogonyok. He accuses Akhromeyev of "outright lies" and of trying to find "foreign enemies" to ensure that the military budget is not cut too deeply.

Akhromeyev, a former chief of staff of the Soviet military, has become the most outspoken voice for the beleaguered armed forces. Top Soviet military officials are reportedly deeply upset by the withdrawal of troops from Eastern Europe, cuts in the defense budget, increasing unemployment among former officers and a general drop in prestige.

In a series of articles in Ogonyok, Arbatov has charged the armed forces with ignoring the dire needs of the civil economy and continuing to spend vast sums on "needless" weapons, including aircraft carriers and tactical aircraft. He says the military still does not provide government leaders with adequate information and that legislators often must depend on Western sources.

Ogonyok's editor-in-chief, Vitali Korotich, said the military, and its alliances with conservative members of the Communist Party apparatus, are "the major threat to the reform movement." Since early this year, Korotich has published a number of scathing articles criticizing the military. Those articles have been answered by Akhromeyev, as well as by more conservative publications such as Molodaya Gvardia, Nash Sovremenik and the army daily Krasnaya Zvezda.

Liberal intellectuals here also worry that Akhromeyev and other army leaders may be finding common cause with right-wing Russian nationalists. Such an alliance between "the great Russian people" and the army has been suggested by writer Alexander Prokhanov, known here as "the Soviet Rudyard Kipling," whose goal is to preserve the Soviet empire from disintegration.

Less than a year ago, Korotich said in an interview that while the policy of glasnost, or openness, had allowed him to publish articles on almost every subject imaginable, the state censors, known here as Glavlit, still carefully monitored any pieces on the army, the KGB security police and the Communist Party leadership.

But now, as the party's ideology department has lost authority, Korotich seems to feel freer to publish articles criticizing military spending and privileges. In a recent issue, Ogonyok published an article by Vladimir Sergeyev, chief inspector of the government's Control Committee, detailing government money spent on 73 country homes outside Moscow set aside for Defense Ministry officials.

Last month, Ogonyok published a complaint signed by Akhromeyev and other military leaders to Anatoly Lukyanov, chairman of the Supreme Soviet, or standing legislature. The letter said that Ogonyok "systematically blackens the names of Soviet generals and admirals, portraying them as egotists {and} career-seeking nitwits . . . . The magazine's activity has acquired a dangerous character. All our attempts to stop it go unnoticed. We demand that Ogonyok's work be discussed in the Supreme Soviet."

Last week, the legislature's committees on the military and the press summoned Korotich to testify. Although the session was closed to the press, Korotich said that some of his military questioners angrily threatened to "shut down" the weekly's criticism of the military.

"If you want to go after me, the place to do it is in the courts. If you want to sue us, go ahead, try," Korotich said he replied. Korotich also said the military deputies brought in widows and mothers of soldiers killed in wars.

"One old woman started shaking her finger at me and said she worked in a mine, but that she was glad the army was spending all that money to keep her safe," Korotich said. "It was all very strange."

Ogonyok also has portrayed fissures within the military, reflecting not only the conservative views of the top leadership -- the "brass hats" -- but also the much more progressive stance of a layer of young colonels and majors.

Akhromeyev was especially incensed at an article in Ogonyok this year that quoted the late human rights activist Andrei Sakharov discussing the possibility of a Soviet military coup. Akhromeyev told the magazine Theater Life that Ogonyok had "libeled" him and the military.

Both Akhromeyev and Arbatov had even more influence under former leader Leonid Brezhnev, who died in 1982, and their current struggle appears to be a matter not only of policy but of reputations.

Akhromeyev, according to Arbatov, took part in the decisions to intervene in Angola, Ethiopia and Afghanistan and to install "excessive" nuclear missiles in Europe. Akhromeyev, for his part, accuses Arbatov of hypocrisy -- of trying to appear a progressive now after participating in the decision-making process under Brezhnev as a Central Committee member and director of the USA-Canada Institute.