Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 24

. Russian first deputy prime minister Oleg Soskovets told reporters February 1 that the government will allocate an additional 7 trillion rubles ($1.5 billion) in defense spending this year. Although initial reports were unclear, it appeared that the new funding will be earmarked for defense procurement. (4) Soskovets’ remarks coincided with an announcement by the president’s chief of staff, Nikolai Yegorov, that he would lobby within the government for the interests of Russia’s military aviation manufacturers. Yegorov has also joined the military council of the Russian airforce. (5) He told a meeting of that body yesterday that arms sale contracts worth $6.5 billion have either been signed or are in the pipeline for 1996. (6)

It was also announced yesterday that Minister for Foreign Economic Relations Oleg Davydov had been named first deputy chairman of the coordinating council for military-technical policy. (7) Davydov’s appointment is but the latest in a series of personnel changes in the area of defense procurement. It follows the January 23 replacement of Viktor Glukhikh by Zinovy Pak as chairman of Russia’s State Committee for Defense Industries. Three days after Pak’s appointment, First Deputy Defense Minister in charge of procurement Andrei Kokoshin was made a state secretary. He will serve as liaison with parliament in that capacity. The reshuffling of personnel appears to represent an effort by Russian president Boris Yeltsin to deflect hawkish parliamentary criticism of the government’s heretofore ineffectual policies in the area of defense procurement. The growing prominence of Soskovets and Yegorov in the president’s entourage suggests that the embattled defense sector could find itself better favored in future budget debates than it has been in recent years.

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