Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday reported on Russia’s arms exports for 2012, noting that only the United States is ahead of the country by a small margin. So, in 2012, the country sold weapons worth 15.2 billion US dollars, up 12 percent from the previous year. However, analysts are concerned not over the quantity but the quality of Russia’s exports.
Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that it's safe to say that “the Russian Federation is one of the indubitable leaders in the sphere of the sale of weapons and special equipment – next only to the United States,” the RF head of state noted. “We cover more than a quarter of the world market.”
The Novye Izvestia daily recalls that in 2011, Russia sold arms worth 13.2 billion US dollars. Thus, a two-billion dollar increase on the face of it can really be considered a major breakthrough. However, for comparison, the United States, according to the Centre for Analysis of World Arms Trade (CAWAT), last year sold weapons worth 30 billion “greenbacks.”
What is the most frustrating for the Russian armourers, according to the newspaper, is that the Americans are squeezing them out of their main market – India. “Russia in 2013-2016 will retain the first place in the Indian arms market with the projected exports during this four-year period in the amount of 14.617 billion US dollars, Director of the Centre for Analysis of World Arms Trade Igor Korotchenko told the said Novye Izvestia newspaper. “Nevertheless, Russia’s share in the Indian arms market during this time will decrease from 57.2 percent to 29 percent. India has embarked on an ambitious program for the purchase of weapons, and Russia cannot compete in all segments of the market. In addition, India is actively pursuing a policy of diversification of arms suppliers. The market of this country is facing a very tough competition.”
“The main problem of the Russia’s defence products is the lack of an adequate system of quality control,” expert of the Centre for Current Politics Dmitry Abzalov explained. The country’s records in military equipment sales in recent years could be explained more by luck than by anything else.
In the view of the president, the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper writes, it is necessary to keep away from the Soviet practice of assisting the “brothers in arms” in exchange for a conditional “banana return.” “We need to more widely use the practice of extending state export loans,” said Putin.
The Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily emphasises that Russia has recently begun to extend tied loans against the supply of domestic military equipment. Indonesia has received such a loan for the purchase of Russian diesel submarines, Venezuela - for the purchase of Russian weapons, and even Algeria. According to press reports, Vietnam also feels like receiving it. But there is a problem – it is possible to extend loans only to those countries that will be able to pay off, and where a coup, like in Libya, will not happen.