Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 33

Israel has quietly emerged as one of Russia’s leading trading partners in the Middle East, with trade turnover increasing from $70 million in 1991 to approximately $650 million last year, according to the Russian daily Izvestiya. Although food products are currently one of Israel’s leading exports to Russia, the newspaper speculates that cooperation in defense production could become the most important sector of bilateral trade over the longer term. Israeli defense plants already have a long and successful history of modernizing Russian military aircraft, and they have recently proposed the creation of joint ventures with Russian plants to reconfigure MiG fighter jets, the newspaper reports. While that proposal has been rejected, joint efforts are being undertaken to modernize Russian MI-8 helicopters and T-55 tanks; a project to upgrade the T-72 tank is in the planning stages. The newspaper suggests that enterprises from the two countries are also pondering joint ventures in the modernization of Russia’s civilian aircraft industry. (9)

Russian Duma Fails to Adopt Bill on Human Rights Commissioner.