State-owned technology conglomerate Rostekh reports that the Russian government purchases imported electronics four and a half times more often than comparable domestic products.
The complaint came from Sergey Sakhnenko — industrial director of Rostekh’s radioelectronics cluster (REK) — at a joint meeting of the Bureau of the Union of Machinebuilders of Russia and the Bureau of the Association “League for Assistance to Defense Industries” on May 31.
According to Interfaks-AVN, Sakhnenko said:
“The volume of sales of products from REK enterprises to federal government executive organs in the medical equipment, computing technology, telecommunications equipment segments and other electronics in 2018 amounted to 18 billion rubles [$275 million]. Meanwhile, the volume of state purchases just in the sphere of IT and telecommunications came to not less than 100 billion rubles [$1.5 billion] for the year.
In Sakhnenko’s words, foreign products dominate Russian government purchasing despite the existence of Russian-made analogues comparable in quality and characteristics to imported equipment.
Replying for the government, Deputy PM and arms tsar Yuriy Borisov could only state the obvious. The Russian radioelectronics industry faces the task of dominating its internal market. Domestic technology should be introduced dynamically and commercialized. Besides dominating its home market, Russian technology has to be better positioned in foreign markets. “Only under such a state policy can we raise this sector,” he said.
Pretty thin stuff for Russian electronics manufacturers.
Suffice it to say, Russia’s import substitution policies since 2014 haven’t dented Moscow’s dependence on foreign high technology products. It’s a lingering pressure point the U.S. and NATO could exploit but for the greed of their politicians and companies still more than willing to do business with Russia.