Russia » Economics
Author`s name Ольга Савка

Russian Weapons Make All Countries Feel Safe

This year might be a year of record sales for the Russian defense industry

It became obvious after Iraq ingloriously surrendered to coalition forces of the USA and Great Britain: no country could feel safe without nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. Nuclear, or any other kinds of the weapons of mass destruction can not serve the 100 percent security guarantee either. However, if an arsenal of a state is capable of causing considerable damage to a potential aggressor, the latter will at least have to think twice before attacking. Apparently, the American aggression and the imperial ambition of the States pushed the world towards the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other kinds of arms. There is nothing good about it, although one has to get the maximum advantage of current circumstances anyway.

This way or other, but the military inspiration of the American administration has made so-called Third World countries think of the arms race and of the modernization of their armies. Weapons are supposed to be purchased somewhere. As it is well known, Americans sell only outdated models of their arms. In addition to that, they do not sell them to everyone. That is why, a lot of potential customers pay attention to Russia.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov happily stated during his visit to South Korea that a number of addresses to the Russian Defense Ministry pertaining to deliveries of up-to-date conventional arms had increased greatly. The minister did not fail to thank the American government for advertising cheap and reliable Russian arms for free. As they say it in Russia, there is a part of joke in every joke.

Experts are right when they say that the increase of the interest to Russian arms occurred on the moment when American officials accused Russia of illegal arms deliveries to Iraq. In the beginning of the Iraqi campaign, American military men claimed that American smart bombs are not that smart because the Iraqi army allegedly used up-to-date Russian defense technology.

The popularity of the Russian weapons has not suffered a bit on account of the fact that the Iraqi army lost the war. At the end of the day, the Soviet weapons - Kalashnikov guns, MiG planes and guided missiles - defeated the American army in Vietnam. However, the prosperity of the Soviet defense industry was over years ago.

So far, the committee for military and technical cooperation and the Russian defense giant Rosoboronexport say that they are commercial organizations, so they only understand the language of commerce. It was then added that there were no new contracts concluded with them. Nevertheless, specialists of the Russian defense industry say that the number of defense orders has been already increased 10 or 15 percent - approximately 700 million dollars of the extra profit. Russian experts that deal with the export of defense technology believe that one shall expect the growth of demand on mobile anti-tank missile complexes like Kornet-E, as well as grenade launchers and night vision devices. A lot of countries (especially Muslim ones) evince their interest in compact anti-aircraft complex Phoenix, which is capable of detecting and downing air targets. The demand on ABM systems and heavy armoured vehicles grows too.

The Russian defense industry does not produce any modern weapons in a large scale at the moment. New models of arms are produced only for foreign contracts. As a matter of fact, the whole Russian defense industry lives owing to the modernization of old Soviet arms, which used to be delivered to different countries years ago. The Russian leadership will need to have a lot of courage and political will to arm the whole world. Russia might help a lot of countries in this respect, if it is allowed to do so, of course. This freedom definitely comes along with the confrontation with the United States.

The American administration is deeply concerned about the growing export of Russian arms. In addition to that, American officials are not happy with the interest that a lot of countries (including America's so-called allies) evince in the opportunity to acquire Russian arms. It is worth mentioning here that members of the Saudi royal family have already released public statements like "we are buying Russian weapons whenever we want, and the USA is not an instructor to us." It is rather hard to imagine that American officials will quietly watch the Russian defense industry selling more and more modern weapons, especially to those countries, which might become another target for the USA to hit.

The American administration just keeps on creating the image of Russia as of a hypocritical friend, who secretly arms America's enemies. The Washington Post wrote in one of its articles that Putin was ruling the country, in which retired cunning generals shared their military knowledge with Saddam Hussein for money; in which scientists sold nuclear technologies to Iran; in which the army waged one of the dirtiest wars in the world - in Chechnya. As the newspaper wrote, America is not supposed to break all negotiations and relations with Russia. Yet, according to the Washington Post, America must keep a certain distance in its relations with Russia. The newspaper also recommended the American administration not to swear eternal friendship to Russian politicians, who continue arming America's enemies on the sly.

Anyway, the Russian defense industry managed to set a record in sales last year, without any interest that appeared as a result of the war in Iraq. In 2002 Russia exported arms in the sum of 4,8 billion dollars. Among defense contracts of the year 2002, experts single out a contract to sell Su-30 pursuit planes to India and China.  China also purchased eight Russian diesel submarines and two torpedo-boat destroyers.

The Russian corporation MiG has reportedly managed to sell its pursuit planes to Sudan (America has serious claims about this country). Another breakthrough on the Asian market, as Rosoboronexport believes, is the deal of selling anti-aircraft missile complex Igla to Malaysia. The Russian defense industry has allegedly earned 4,3 billion dollars in the beginning of the current year. In other words, the current year might become a year of record sales in Russia, if the USA does not deal with the Russian military export seriously, of course.