Date: Thu, 13 Mar 97 11:30:15 CST
Russia set to become world leader in arms trade
Igor Korotchenko Talks to Boris Kuzyka, Assistant to the Russian President on Military-Technical Co-operation with Foreign Countries, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 6 March 1997
Question: How would you describe Russia's position in the world arms market?
Answer: The programme for military-technical co-operation with foreign countries, approved by the President, comprised four stages: marketing research of the potential arms and military hardware markets; transition to a three-tier system of military-technical co-operation; restructuring the Russian military-industrial complex; effective functioning of two segments of the national economy, the military-industrial complex and the fuel and energy sector, and their co-operation and mutually complementing development.
Figures illustrate better than anything else the efficiency of the Russian system of military-technical co-operation. In recent years hard-currency returns from such co-operation have doubled: from $1.7 billion in 1994 to $3.4 billion in 1996. One should bear in mind here that the Russian growth took place against the background of a global decline in the profits of arms-manufacturing corporations, which have fallen during the last 5-7 years from $46 billion to $21 billion (the profits of the US corporations have decreased from $16 billion and $9 billion).
Export orders for Russian arms are valued at $7 billion and if we manage to carry out by the end of this year a number of contracts which are being currently negotiated, this figure may grow to $9 billion.
Question: Is it practically possible for Russia to catch up with the United States?
Answer: Carrying out President Yeltsin's order, the state company Rosvooruzheniye last February began to implement a new comprehensive strategic programme to advance Russian arms to the world's markets, and we believe that this programme will allow Russia to become a world leader in arms trade next year.
Question: What are the most promising regions for Russian arms exports?
Answer: It is, above all, the Middle East. Our principal partner there is Syria, and Moscow has long-standing friendly relations with some other countries there. Prospects are good for Russia's military-technical co-operation with the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. We believe that our co-operation with these countries will expand during the next few years.
Among other promising regions are South-East Asia and Latin America.
Question: What will Russia display at the international arms fair IDEX-97?
Answer: IDEX-97 will be held in the United Arab Emirates on March 16 to 20 and Russia will exhibit its Ka-50 strike helicopter Black Shark, T-90C and T-80UK tanks, the BMP-3 mechanised infantry combat vehicle, the 120-mm automatic self-propelled gun "Vena", the multi-target missile system Khrizantema-C, the anti-tank system Kornet-E, the combat reconnaissance vehicle Rys, and the guided artillery munitions Krasnopol, Smelchak, Santimetr and Kitolov-2M. In the air-defence systems category, we shall go on display with the surface-to-air missile systems Buk-M1, Tor-M1, S-300V and S-300 PMU-1, and the Tunguska-M1 systems. We shall also show some other armaments.
Question: What does the President think of the new system of military-technical co-operation?
Answer: He is pleased with the Russian specialists, especially those working in Rosvooruzheniye. The President is personally watching the negotiations on a series of major contracts, which will be made public after signing. He considers inadmissible the actions of some Western countries, including the United States, which realise that they are losing out to Russia in competition and begin to resort to unacceptable methods to discredit Russian arms and Russian experts in arms trade.
Question: What are these methods?
Answer: They are many. The Americans are using many different means and methods. For example, Washington denied Colombia's President an entry visa to the United States in revenge for a contract Colombia signed to buy Russian helicopters. The United States stubbornly refuses to open a Rosvooruzheniye office in New York although we intend to use such an office for the provision of arms and military hardware for the UN peace-keeping operations. Rosvooruzheniye Director-General Alexander Kotelkin is unofficially considered persona non grata not only in the United States but also in some of the United States' allies.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, March 6. Abridged.