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  • Affiliation : Senior Researcher, Center for International Security, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO
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Natalya Kalinina

In terms of its portfolio of contracts and actual deliveries, Russia has for a long time been the world’s second-largest arms supplier after the United States. Over the past few years Asia Pacific has been the biggest destination of Russian arms exports, accounting for 55-57 per cent of the overall figure. The Middle East is second with 14.2 per cent, followed by Northern and Northeastern Africa with 12.7 per cent. The top ten of the largest buyers of Russian weaponry in these two regions includes Algeria; Iran (4.1 per cent of total Russian exports), Syria (3.1 per cent), Egypt (3 per cent) and the UAE (1.8 per cent).

In 2012 Russia exported about 15.2bn dollars worth of weapons, of which the Middle East accounted for about 20 per cent. But of all the Middle Eastern countries, only Iraq made it into the Top 10 of the biggest destinations of Russian defense exports in 2012. That year, the country placed 4.2bn dollars worth of tentative orders for Russian weaponry, which accounts for 23.17 per cent of the defense contracts Russia signed in 2012.

But the ongoing military and political developments in the Middle East and North Africa are putting a growing pressure on the regional balance of Russia's defense exports. It has already become clear that the share of the Middle Eastern countries in these exports is sliding.

Senior Research Fellow, Head of the Group on unconventional threats to security of the Center for International Security Studies at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) of the Russian Academy of Sciences, member of the PIR Center Executive Board Natalya Kalinina has looked more closely at this situation and identified its possible consequences.

Russian Arms Supplies to Middle East (full text)


RUSSIA CONFIDENTIAL, Issue № 11 (203), vol.12. November 2013.