War in Ukraine: Exports of the Russian arms sector at risk?

War in Ukraine: Exports of the Russian arms sector at risk?

Published on: 08/12/2022 – 11:17 am Modified on: 08/12/2022 – 11:25 am

The Russian economy is suffering from the poor results of its army in Ukraine. This is a possible consequence of the weakness of Moscow’s military industry on the ground, notes the British MoD, which questions Moscow’s arms export capabilities. The sector is also hit by sanctions, but these exports are vital to the Russian economy and Moscow should do everything it can to track them.

Despite the material needs of the Russian army, despite the weaknesses in its equipment, especially in air defense, which have been known for several years, Russia should not give up exports, believes Yohan Michel, a researcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). in Berlin.

“Resource” in foreign currency

“It is a currency resource for them to export arms abroad. This gives influence to certain countries and has to support both its economy and part of its foreign policy. And so it will probably continue to export, even if it is partly at the expense of its own armed forces.

Certainly, the sanctions will significantly reduce revenues. The Philippines, for example, just stopped buying Russian transport helicopters. But some customers remain: Other customers have no possible suppliers other than Russia — or it is one of the few, the researcher continues. We have the example of Mali this week: they have chosen Russia as their partner, so they will continue to expect shipments of Russian equipment, whether they are of the quality they hoped for or not. »

And corruption

Another factor likely to favor military exports despite the invasion of Ukraine: corruption, adds Yohan Michel, who stresses that while the arms trade is often a victim of corruption, this is even more the case in the case of Russia, and that it is an arms export is not for the state, just a rational decision.

In the case of air defense, some devices presented as particularly efficient do not seem to work as well as expected. In Syria, it was explained that this was because the air defenses were not as well integrated. In Armenia it was because the training of the servants was insufficient. And it seems that these systems don’t work much better in Ukraine. So, we can begin to ask the question: “Is the training of the Russian army in question, or is the equipment not up to the communications of Russian industrialists?” I lean more towards the second hypothesis.

Yohan Michel: “The performance of several Russian devices raises questions”

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