The Soviet military-industrial complex paid no heed to republican boundaries. As a result, none of the Soviet Union’s successor states is self-sufficient in arms production. Last Friday, representatives from eight CIS countries met in Moscow to try and reestablish at least some central coordination. The first meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission on Military-Economic Cooperation of CIS-Member Countries included participants from Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, and Russia. Russian defense industries minister Zinovy Pak, who was elected chairman of the new body, admitted that Russia could only produce 18 percent of its military needs without the cooperation of suppliers from other CIS countries — and it is probably in better shape than the other CIS members. The commission looked at ways to simplify the settlement of inter-state contracts.
The results of the meeting suggested that Russia plans to use its position as the dominant military supplier to protect its growing arms export market. The participants were said to have decided to coordinate their arms export efforts and to have drawn up "internal rules of conduct." The proposed rules, which must be approved by the Council of the CIS Heads of Government, would restrict one of the partners from reexporting military products it had received from another, and prevent one partner from supplying information about such products to a third country without written permission from the supplier. Violators would have to pay damages to the tune of double the cost of the exported equipment.
The commission has its work cut out. The competition in the international arms trade is fierce, and many countries in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe hope to use the profits from arms export to finance the rebuilding of their own armed forces. Due to standardization in the Warsaw Pact, all of these countries are trying to sell basically the same products. In the case of tanks, this means various Soviet modelsÐlike the T-72 and the T-80.
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