Chemezov Asks to Be State Arms Buyer

Russian Technologies has asked the government to make it a state arms purchaser and give it access to state funds of more than 1 trillion rubles ($42.8 billion), Kommersant reported Thursday.

The state-owned industrial group, headed by Sergei Chemezov, one of President Vladimir Putin's closest allies, has submitted a draft decree to the government which, if approved, would make it one of the agencies that buys weapons for the armed forces, the newspaper reported.

Currently, the Defense Ministry decides what weapons to purchase and buys them directly from arms producers. The decree would give Russian Technologies purchasing powers in six state programs worth more than 1 trillion rubles, the report said.

A source close to the Defense Ministry told the newspaper that an attempt had been made to convince Putin that the proposals should not be approved.