Russia’s Military Admits It Needs Western Technology
When Western nations imposed economic sanctions after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, Moscow had an answer: Russia would substitute domestic products for foreign imports.
But Russia’s defense industry is still using imported parts despite the government ban, according to Russia’s top prosecutor.
“Import substitution in the defense industry remains a problem," warned Prosecutor-General Yuri Chaika. "Instances of non-compliance with the ban to purchase foreign equipment whose counterparts are manufactured in Russia continue to be revealed."
“In the framework of import substitution in the defense industry, it is vital to ensure compliance with the deadlines for replacing components,” said First Deputy Prosecutor General Alexander Buksman. “Raw and [other] materials produced by NATO countries and Ukraine, used to manufacture machines, arms, military and special equipment, prevent non-compliance with the ban on the budget-funded purchase of foreign equipment, analogues of which are produced in Russia.”
Unfortunately, the problem is that equivalents to Western goods are often not produced in Russia. “Russia produces few high value goods that can compete with imports,” noted a 2017 Moscow Times article. “Thanks to oil inflating the value of the ruble it has always been cheaper and easier to import finished goods than go through the process of investing money into expensive production and development lines that produce goods that are, at the end of the day, inferior to the imports.”