Toxic Friendship of the Kremlin

How Russia is trying to circumvent sanctions.

The Russian defense industry is not able to produce the modern models of equipment, which is why Moscow is forced to look for the substitutes or the ways to obtain sanctioned goods.

The most famous one is the fact that the Russian army utilizes different types of Iranian combat and intelligence-gathering UAVs (despite all the objections from the Kremlin authorities). According to Western experts, this indicates a lack of high-precision weapons, primarily the lack of cruise missiles, which forces the Russian Federation to look for an alternative.

At the same time, despite the numerous statements by Russian officials about successful import substitution, the products of the military-industrial complex (MIC) of the Russian Federation are extremely dependent on the foreign spare parts. This fact is confirmed by the components analysis for several samples of the Russian military equipment. For example, the Orlan-10 UAV contains Western microcircuits and optics. It is these components that the Russian manufacturer lacks after the sanctions were introduced, which is why the Russian Federation is forced to resort to rather exotic supply options. 

Thus, recently the Swedish police reported the theft of special surveillance cameras placed along the country’s highways. Later, the Swedish law enforcement officers reported they had information about a link between the thefts on Swedish roads and the Russian UAVs. According to the department’s press secretary Fredrik Hultgren-Friberg, the investigators are currently unable to inform the public about the progress of the case.

Russia is also actively looking for ways to circumvent sanctions, in particular with the help of third countries. The Russian Federation has an influential agent and lobbying network in many countries of the world, thus, it will continue to try to create opportunities for parallel imports while under sanctions. The changes in Russia’s foreign trade recently published by the American publishing office of the New York Times are somehow the confirmation of this showing the dynamics after the full-scale invasion into Ukraine in early 2022. 

A more specific example includes the visit of the Russian delegation to Uzbekistan at the end of October, at the initiative of the Kremlin. The delegation included, in particular, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation D. Manturov. The official purpose of the visit is to deepen the economic cooperation between the two countries. But the unofficial goal is to find the possibility of creating a supply chain “corridor” for the sanctioned military and dual-use goods to the Russian Federation. In addition, Moscow expects to use Uzbek enterprises for its own benefit.

In the infographic mentioned above, one should pay attention to another partner of the Russian Federation in the Middle East, namely Turkey. The cooperation between Moscow and Ankara has been going on for a long time and has already caused dissatisfaction among Turkey’s NATO partners, such as the scandal after the purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems. Currently, the Russian leadership tries to persuade its partners in Turkey to sell a number of important military equipment to Moscow. In particular, it is about the secure communications equipment, UAVs, thermal imagers, and night vision devices, which are critically lacking in the Russian army, and the issue of purchasing microcircuits for the defense industry is also under consideration.

We hope that the Turkish authorities, which have repeatedly and consistently taken steps to support Ukraine, clearly understand the threat of such “toxic” cooperation with the Russian aggressors. No economic gains will be able to compensate for Ankara’s reputational losses. As a responsible democratic and civilized state, and a member of NATO, Turkey will not allow the violations of the sanctions regime against the Russian Federation, and will continue to support Ukraine in the fight against the aggressor.

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