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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Rogozin, we just celebrated Armourers’ Day. I know that you took part in the events to mark this professional holiday and met with industry representatives to discuss the industry’s development prospects and the defence sector’s outlook. Could you say a few words about this?
Deputy Prime Minister DMITRY ROGOZIN: Mr President, acting on your instructions, as chairman of the organising committee for the celebrations, we marked Armourers’s Day in the country for the first time and celebrated the 300th anniversary of the signing of Peter the Great’s decree to launch industrial armoury production in Russia. We organised big celebrations in Tula. There were events elsewhere too, but the main celebrations were in Tula. There were not only celebratory events, but business events too.
Our foreign partners sent delegations to take part in the celebrations. There were delegations from NATO member countries wanting to work together with us in the industry and undertake technology transfers with Russia’s defence industry, and India also sent a big delegation.
Regarding the business part of the events, we held an extra-mural meeting of the Military Industrial Commission, which, following your instructions, made some very important decisions. The first decision was on industrial cooperation in developing hypersonic technology. The second decision was about the start of reorganisation in the firearms sector, and of course the public-private partnership aspect.
”We must work hard on technical modernisation and bringing in private money. We need a programme, and this programme is to be organised in such a way as to ensure that modernising the industry will go hand-in-hand with addressing the social issues, so that people are not forgotten.“
We noted that the decision you announced in Nizhny Tagil on May 12 on bringing private capital into the defence industry is starting to have an effect and has produced some first results.
We see some initiatives and breakthroughs in the firearms sector, for example, the development of a new pistol and two new sniper rifles. These new models were developed by private business. They are currently going through state tests and I hope will be taken on by the armed forces.
Overall, despite the problems we all know well, problems such as technological backwardness that you have mentioned many times, the armourers are in a positive mood. They are ready to put their efforts and talents into reviving the industry and carrying out the state arms procurement programme.
Vladimir Putin: I am not in such a positive mood yet, to be honest. We both know about the problems in the arms and ammunition manufacturing sectors. Yes, we certainly must work hard on technical modernisation and bringing in private money – I totally agree with you here. But we need a programme, and this programme is to be organised in such a way as to ensure that modernising the industry will go hand-in-hand with addressing the social issues, so that people are not forgotten.
You know how serious an issue this is. The arms procurement programme should take the relevant measures in this respect and ensure support for the companies through state instruments and state guarantees.
Perhaps there are other possible support measures too, but without direct government support these companies are unlikely to be able to go through the restructuring process without serious losses, and losses are precisely what we want to avoid. We know, after all, that this sector has always played a vital part in ensuring our country’s defence capability, and must continue to do so after the modernisation measures end.