BFF-32 Russia’s arms sales in 2020 ‘successful’ despite pandemic

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RUSSIA-WEAPONRY-DEFENCE

Russia’s arms sales in 2020 ‘successful’ despite pandemic

MOSCOW, March 12, 2021 (BSS/AFP) – Russia’s arms sales last year were not
affected by the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, a senior
official said Friday, making it one of the country’s only industries to come
out unscathed.

“Our order book remained at a level of $50-55 billion,” said Dmitry
Shugayev, who heads the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation.

“We came out with a highly successful year,” he said on the Rossiya 24 news
channel, adding that 2020 “was special” because of the pandemic.

Russia did however suffer losses in its so-called “secret” exports of arms
and military equipment, falling 15.6 percent on the previous year, the RBK
business daily reported last month citing customs data.

In 2019 and 2018, Russia received orders for its weapons worth $51.1
billion and $55 billion respectively, according to chief executive of arms
giant Rostec, Sergei Chemezov.

The country in 2020 suffered losses in other key export industries, notably
seeing a 12 percent drop in energy giant Gazprom’s exports to Europe with
prices and demand collapsing due to the pandemic.

Russia did not reimpose a national lockdown when a second wave of
infections surged late last year, which helped keep its economy’s contraction
to just 3.1 percent — a relatively good result compared with many European
countries.

Arms sales are a key part of Moscow’s push to increase its geopolitical
clout from the Middle East to Africa.

BSS/AFP/SSS/2007 hrs