Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 75

President Boris Yeltsin has approved a plan that would raise Russia’s State Committee for Defense Industries to the level of a ministry, First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets told a meeting of the committee leadership yesterday. Soskovets presented the action as part of a government effort to "consolidate" the Russian state. He suggested that the imminent reorganization would contribute not only to the provision of weaponry to the armed forces and to military reform, but to the success of broader economic reform as well. In that vein, Soskovets said that Russia would focus on increasing arms exports, particularly to China and India, and that the recreation of a "powerful and modern base" for the manufacture of aircraft was also a priority. He observed that the government had recently moved to aid defense enterprises by increasing their autonomy in the export of goods and by expanding the markets in which their products could be sold. (Itar-Tass & Interfax, April 16)

Soskovets remarks suggest that Moscow foresees using expected rising defense sector revenues to drive a broader economic recovery. That economic strategy has been proposed in the past and, if implemented now, could considerably strengthen portions of the old Soviet defense industrial complex.

Plurality of Russians Would Prefer a Return to the Past.