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Russia

    Campaign for an Arms Trade Treaty: Russia

    Russia is the second largest arms trading country globally by value of exports and will exert a major influence in ATT negotiations.

    Countries supplied

    Main customers include India, Syria, Algeria, Myanmar, Venezuela, Sudan and many African states. However, Russia’s arms industry has been falling behind in key technologies and it is seeking sophisticated partners and new markets for many products.

    Irresponsible transfers

    Russia has supplied arms to several countries where they risk being used to commit serious human rights violations. It does not publish arms export details, but 10 per cent of all Russian arms exports are believed to go to Syria, making it the country’s largest arms supplier. Transfers include missiles and missile launchers, anti-tank missiles for the Russian-made T72 tank, and MIG jet fighters jet aircraft. Russia also supplied AK-style assault rifles to Libya under al-Gaddafi. Russia continues to supply helicopter gunships to Sudan, where they have been used to attack civilians in Darfur and Southern Kordofan.

    Position going into the ATT negotiations

    Russia, like China, appears not to want the treaty to include binding rules on international human rights, international humanitarian law and socio-economic development. Russian officials argue that such rules are interpreted subjectively and ideologically. However, Russia is already committed to the OSCE and Wassenaar Arrangement, both of which contain principles to respect international human rights law and international humanitarian law when considering arms transfers. Russia also appears comfortable with the ATT covering a wide range of conventional arms as in the Munitions List of the Wassenaar Arrangement. Russia believes the focus should be on controlling trade to avoid diversion into the illicit arms market but the details of its proposals and views on transparency remain sketchy.