Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Maslyukov has apparently taken a major step toward winning control over Russia’s arms export establishment. News agencies reported on October 26 that Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov had signed off on a resolution ordering the creation of a government commission tasked with oversight of military-technical cooperation with foreign countries. Maslyukov, a former head of the Soviet planning agency Gosplan with long ties to defense enterprises, has been named chairman of the new commission (Itar-Tass, October 26). The appointment would appear merely to formalize responsibilities that had fallen to Maslyukov earlier. In an announcement released by Primakov on October 7, Maslyukov’s many duties in the new government were said to include responsibility for foreign military-technical cooperation (Itar-Tass, October 7. See also the Monitor, October 20).
Russian sources suggested on October 26 that Maslyukov’s latest appointment is likely to presage both a reshuffle of personnel atop the Russian arms trade establishment, and some changes in the way in which the country conducts its arms trading. One of those who could soon get the ax is Yevgeny Ananev, the director of the Russian state arms trade company Rosvooruzhenie. Named to the post last September with the support of then Economics Minister Yakov Urinson, Ananev has more recently been the object of much criticism over Rosvooruzhenie’s alleged falling revenues. Anton Surikov, Maslyukov’s press secretary, is reported to be among the leading candidates to replace Ananev at Rosvooruzhenie (Vremya MN, October 13; Tribuna, October 20).
Maslyukov is also reported to be considering a move to weaken Rosvooruzhenie’s current near monopoly over Russian arms dealings. That would give considerably more authority to individual Russian defense enterprises to peddle their wares. Those enterprises now complain that Rosvooruzhenie passes along far too little of the revenue that it receives from foreign arms sales (Vesti, October 26).
TWO MAJOR PARTY LEADERS MAY NOT SUPPORT KUCHMA.