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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Woos UN Peacekeeping Profits

Hoping to win a slice of the $1 billion per year the United Nations spends on peacekeeping procurement, Russia's state-controlled arms dealer Rosoboronexport has rolled out the red carpet for UN officials here on a weeklong visit.

Though Rosoboronexport has won UN contracts in the past, its executives expressed frustration that cooperation has not been greater.

"We've been focusing on sales to the UN for a long time now, but unfortunately without visible success," Rosoboronexport deputy general Viktor Komardin said.

In past years, Rosoboronexport has gotten UN financing to provide weapons to countries such as Bangladesh, to which it delivered 70 armored personnel vehicles under contract last year.

Now, the arms agency is hoping to furnish its dual-use and civil equipment not to third parties, but to the United Nations itself.

Lieutenant Colonel Manfred Ertl, a member of the UN delegation, rattled off the peacekeeping department's long shopping list, which included personal protection equipment like helmets and bulletproof vests, all-terrain vehicles, supply transport vehicles, night-vision equipment, explosive detectors and mapping devices.

"This is the equipment that is most vital to our mission and the work we do," he said.

With this in mind, Rosoboronexport plans to take the delegation to its test fields, where it will demonstrate will demonstrate its latest models of these, with a spotlight as well on those with anti-terrorism applications.

The UN acquires goods and services through tenders on a competitive basis, said Joan Mathangani, head of the delegation, explaining that Rosoboronexport will have to compete with other arms vendors, including those from the United States.

Konstantin Makiyenko, deputy head of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, a Moscow-based defense industry research institute, said the UN peacekeeping was a good niche market to add to Rosoboronexport's clientele. He predicted that procurement of armored personnel vehicles and transport helicopters would hold the most promising potential.

He cautioned, however, that the United States is a major financial donor to the UN budget and could use purse strings to stymie Rosoboronexport's efforts to increase its share of UN procurement. "The United States can use its financial might to block Russian deliveries," he said.