Medvedev tells military to buy weapons abroad
GORKI (RUSSIA) PRESIDENT Dmitry Medvedev urged the Russian military on Tuesday to buy weapons from abroad in order to ensure its forces are properly armed, highlighting mounting concern over a decrepit industry.
Russia is the world’s second largest arms exporter but corruption and lack of financing have hampered efforts to revitalise the country’s defence industry, forcing Moscow to look abroad for advanced military technology.
“You shouldn’t buy junk,” Medvedev told Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, who oversees the defence sector for the government, at his residence just outside of Moscow.
“If they (domestic arms makers) offer equipment which does not satisfy you, place your orders with other firms, or, ultimately, import them,” Medvedev said.
Russia signed an agreement last month to buy two Mistral class helicopter carriers from France in a 1.2 billion euro ($1.72 billion) deal, the first major foreign arms purchase in the two decades since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Serdyukov was due to present the findings of a probe into arms contract failures after a top weapons designer said this year’s contracts were doomed to fall short of targets.
The minister said low quality and overpricing of homemade weapons were among the obstacles preventing the ministry from acquiring the remaining 230 billion roubles ($8.21 billion) worth of arms out of a planned 750 billion in expenditures this year.
A top weapons designer said last week that procurement failures were due to a lack of cooperation with the Defence Ministry.
Analysts say the row stems from unaccountable price rises for key armaments, which the ministry refuses to approve.
“You need to buy quality equipment at transparent prices, and not those put forward by certain companies,” Medvedev said.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has promised to spend nearly 20 trillion roubles ($713.8 billion) over a decade to rearm Russia’s army, suffering from years of lack of investment, low morale and outdated equipment.
Medvedev has repeatedly warned Russia’s notoriously corrupt defence sector to clean up its act and this year sacked several industry chiefs over what the Kremlin said were unfulfilled contracts.