Russian Share in Middle Eastern Arms Market Doubled in Three Years


Russia has established a strong foothold in one of the world’s most lucrative defense markets, the Middle East, TRT World reports.

According to the Turkish state TV, Russia’s share of the Middle East defense market has doubled in three years, and the country has surpassed traditional suppliers of arms to the region such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Russia’s engagement with the Middle East has been steadily on the rise since the beginning of the country’s intervention in Syria. The war-torn country offered the Russian military a priceless opportunity: a conventional testing ground for its defense industry. Interest in Russian defense offerings has only grown in recent years, TRT writes.

Alexander Mikheyev, CEO of Russian defense firm Rosoboronexport, admitted as much while speaking to state-run news agency TASS. He said the demand is rather significant after Syria’s events. Russian President Vladimir Putin has also taken the same line.

“Syria is not a shooting range for Russian weapons, but we are still using them there, our new weapons,” Putin said last year.

“This has led to the improvement of modern strike systems, including missile systems. It is one thing to have them, and quite another thing to see how they fare in combat conditions,” the Russian president said.

More than 50 Russian companies presented their wares at the Middle East’s biggest defense exhibition IDEX in Abu Dhabi this week.

“For us, Middle Eastern and North African countries are extremely important markets where we implement numerous projects both in the civilian sector and in defense,” said Sergey Chemezov, CEO of state-run technology corporation Rostec.

Last year, Russian companies took up nearly 1,400 square meters of space to showcase their products.

The Middle East isn’t the only place where there’s money to be made for Russia, although it may be the most profitable, TRT writes. Other notable markets for Russian weapons include China, India, Vietnam and Indonesia.