Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 172

Russian defense enterprises from the Urals and Siberia have joined forces in an effort to market their own weapons abroad. Representatives of the defense firms are scheduled to meet this week in Omsk, where they will submit a package of proposals to leaders of two regional business associations–the Siberian Accord and the Association for Economic Cooperation of the Greater Urals. Representatives of the Defense and Defense Industry Ministries, as well as the State arms trading company, Rosvooruzheniye, will also take part. The authors of the draft proposals say that the defense firms would like to restore relations with unspecified Soviet-era trading partners, and to seek new markets for their products abroad. They envision operating under strict government control and within the framework of existing arms export policies.

While the Siberian and Urals defense firms obviously hope that working in tandem will strengthen their positions on the international arms market, their initiative is also clearly aimed at freeing themselves from Rosvooruzheniye’s oversight. Believed to control over 90 percent of all Russian arms exports, the State arms trading company has been accused by critics not only of corruption in its handling of the vast revenues accruing from Russian arms sales, but also of ineffectively pushing Russian products abroad. For that reason the Siberian and Urals defense firms hope to join a group of a half-dozen or so Russian defense concerns that have won the right to pursue sales independently. (Itar-Tass, Delovaya Rossiya, September 13)

Lebed Returns to Chechnya.