Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kremlin Plans to Boost Arms-Export Earnings

Arms exports will earn more than $4 billion this year and will continue to grow as NATO's 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia continues to fuel global demand for air defense systems and other weaponry, Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov said Wednesday.

Arms exports will total at least $4.3 billion this year compared to $3.39 billion in 1999, and will continue to grow in the next few years to reach an annual average of $5.5 billion to $6 billion, he said Wednesday at a news conference.

Such sales would make Russia the world's second-largest arms exporter after the United States, Klebanov said.

Russia is the world's fourth-largest arms exporter behind the U.S., France and Britain, according to the Military Balance 1999/2000 released by the International Institute of Strategic Studies last October.

The United States, France and Britain sold $26.5 billion, $9.8 billion and $8.97 billion worth of arms, respectively, in 1998, while national exports fetched only $2.85 billion that year, according to the respected London institute.

In contrast to Klebanov's aspirations, analysts said Moscow will continue to lag behind Paris and London unless the Kremlin lifts its ban on sales of strategic weaponry systems, such as atomic submarines and long-range bombers.

China and India, which already buy an annual average of $1 billion worth of Russian arms each, will be among those most willing to buy atomic submarines if the ban is lifted, said Konstantin Makiyenko, deputy head of the Moscow-based Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.

Despite being pressured by the order-starved defense industry, the government will probably refuse to approve sales of either atomic submarines or other strategic weaponry systems as such sales would probably prompt the United States and other Western countries to impose sanctions on Russia, Makiyenko said.

He said the government should also expedite sluggish processing orders, which have discouraged many foreign clients. The government should also encourage defense companies to offer more offset deals when trying to sell their products abroad, he said.