The record number of Russian participants - about 30 defence industrial plants and design offices - are displaying their products at the 12th international exhibition of arms and military hardware of land forces, the Air Force and the Navy Defendory International-2002 which is opening in Athens on Tuesday and will last till October 5th.
One of the largest specialised military expositions in Europe is held once in two years. The workers of the Russian defence industry are taking part in it for the sixth time under the aegis of the federal state unitarian enterprise (FGUP) Rosoboronexport which is the legal successor of all the former Russian state arms exporters.
Rosoboronexport representatives told RIA Novosti that the increased number of the Russian participants (there were just over 20 at the last show) "reflects the tendency to strengthen Russian-Greek military-technical cooperation." According to the sources, Greece is one of the first NATO countries to have started purchasing Russian arms on a large scale. Different air-defence systems of Russian make, as well as Zubr air-cushion landing ships are already in service in its army.
"The Russian exposition at Defendory International-2002 is built with due account for the most promising directions of the development of military-technical cooperation of the two countries and for the needs of other potential foreign customers," a representative of Rosoboronexport noted. "Rosoboronexport will present in Athens Russia's first international naval show IMDS-2003 slated to be held in St. Petersburg from June 25-29th, 2003".
All in all, 500 exhibitors from 35 countries are participating in Defendory-2002. As many as 54 countries have sent official delegations of their military departments, including 13 Defence Ministers, to Defendory-2002.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969