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A sign of Russia's commitment to WMD non-proliferation efforts

01.01.70

Russia has compiled a list of 1,152 foreign companies that should be treated with particular caution if they are permitted to buy any military or dual-use products. This was announced at the Kremlin yesterday by Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov.
Russia has compiled its own list of foreign companies that require particularly cautious treatment with regard to trading in any military or dual-use products. This was announced at the Kremlin yesterday by Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov. According to Ivanov, there are 1,152 companies on the list, from 51 countries. "This isn't a blacklist," said Ivanov, underscoring that Russia's list is not like the American list that entails economic sanctions. All the same, Ivanov's statements imply that Russia intends to use this register as a trump card at the upcoming G8 summit: it will serve as evidence that Moscow intends to fulfill its international commitments.
As Ivanov told President Putin yesterday, this is the first time such a list has been compiled. It includes information about enterprises "that are reported to be involved in military programs in the nuclear industry, chemical industry, or missile-building." Ivanov's statements imply that such a list is essential for countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
Ivanov described it as a "control list." In other words, Russia can trade with the listed companies, but "particular caution" is required. As a precaution, when Russia deals with any of these companies, it will demand the right to check that the purchased products are used strictly as specified. The list is based on information from several sources: intelligence data, reports received via international exchange channels as part of WMD non-proliferation efforts, and reports from the Russian Foreign Ministry.
This list is not necessary for defense companies as such - they have no right to trade on their own; all the deals are made through the federal service of the military technology cooperation and the state company Rosoboronexport. But dual-use products are quite a different matter, when no strict borders can be drawn between civilian and military uses, as in the case of modern convection-resistant materials.
Vadim Kozyulin, professor of the Academy of Military Sciences: Russia is often blamed for its unscrupulousness. We observe United Nations sanctions with regard to one group of countries, while disregarding the concerns of the EU. For example, we sell arms to China, Burma, and Uzbekistan. But Moscow always emphasizes its strict positions and control over the export of arms and military hardware. The appearance of such a list of buyers testifies to the clear-cut criteria of the partners' choosing being formed in Russia, as well as to the fact that the system of our trade is growing more and more transparent, comprehensible and valid in the choice of the customers.
On the other hand, as Kozyulin says, the appearance of such a list fits in with observance of what is called the Wassenaar Arrangement, uniting 36 countries and serving as a tool for monitoring trade in armaments and dual-use products. The countries signed these agreements are to give all the information about the international deals in the sphere of the arms trade to the headquarters of the organization in Vienna. Together with the information about the selling and proceeds there is directed to Vienna the information about all the denials to supply armament, equipment or materials to these or those enterprises and countries with the reasons for the denials. Due to this one can easily trace who and through what suppliers tries to bye the banned for export weapons, defense technologies and materials, and prevent the deal. The Russian list is bound to facilitate this task. Besides by the very claim for the obligatory control it will be able to foil those who seek to use Russian enterprises for mastering chemical, nuclear or missile WMD technologies.
The contents of Russia's list still remain classified. The experts we approached for comments say it might include not only fly-by-night companies, but some enterprises that are regarded as respectable. In effect, Ivanov has promised that the list will be made public. At any rate, the list will form a foundation for Russia's open report on WMD non-proliferation, to be delivered at the G8 summit in St. Petersburg this summer.
Translated by Daria Smirnova

Expert opinion

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