The increase in transparency envisaged by the Arms Trade Treaty does not present a substantial threat to the Russian arms business. The treaty requires information on the amount of arms supplies rather than their cost, which could potentially threaten the commercial interests of Rosoboronexport.
The Russian-Venezuelan military technical cooperation is bound to wither away gradually following Chavez’s death under any political scenario. Venezuela has contracted more weapons than it needs and its market is close to saturation. It will most likely honor its contracts with Russia as long as the supporters of Chavez remain in power, but new contracts are unlikely.
Russia’s positions in Venezuela will weaken in the long term, but considering that energy and arms cooperation will benefit both Russia and Venezuela, it will continue in the next few years. Even if the opposition comes to power, all the arms that have been supplied so far won’t be dumped – they will have to be used and serviced.
The dismissal of Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov prompted a storm of joyful shouts from a variety of places. Looking back, however, it is probably less amazing that Serdyukov was fired but that he managed to hang onto his post for almost six years.
In addition to eight nuclear-powered missile-carrying Yury Dolgoruky-class submarines, the Navy will commission eight nuclear multipurpose submarines, eight diesel-electric submarines and 51 modern surface warships, including 15 frigates, up to 25 corvettes, and four Mistral class amphibious helicopter carriers until 2020.
The modernization of Russia's Caspian Flotilla triggered the naval arms race in the Caspian Sea. There is no reason whatsoever to be concerned about the strength of Russia’s military positions in the Caspian region. The likelihood of a Russian-Azerbaijani sea conflict seems very remote.
One of the most important events of last year for Russia’s national defense was the adoption and launch of the State Arms Procurement Program for 2011-2020. It heralded the start of a large-scale rearmament of the Army, Navy and Air Force and the introduction of new and up-to-date weapons and military equipment.