Russian ammunition manufacturers are at risk of being shut down: did EU sanctions work?

The cabinet meeting was held on the 19 of August, led by the Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation (RF) Aleksandr Potapov. The meeting touched upon the threat to the cartridge (firearms) manufacturing in RF due to the EU sanctions. According to the report of the Ministry department, the manufacturing sector faces several problems. First of all, the overload in the security agencies’ stockpiles coupled with the threat of additional sanctions is problematic. Since mid-1990s the RF security agencies (the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, the Federal Security Guard Service and the Federal Security Service of Russia) drastically curtailed the military purchases. Thus the Defense Procurement and Acquisition decreased 20 times and no increase is anticipated. The existing capacities turned out to be excessive and the government failed to provide necessary financial support. The factories have been privatized and the shareholders reoriented to export. The businesses started producing rifled, sports and hunting weapon cartridges. As of today, overall export shares amount to 70%.

There is a serious threat of additional sanctions from the US and the EU, as was noted during the meeting. It will have a significant impact on the cartridge manufacture. For instance, 80% of the export of non-military weapon cartridge systems belongs to the US. As one of the meeting members informs, at the moment the sanctions do not cover the cartridge export of Russia. Nevertheless the introduction of new sanctions, especially on behalf of the US, can possibly close down the production. The Russian experts mention that, in alternative, the cartridge systems could be sold at the local market. However, the Ministry of Defense stockpiles are full with cartridges that are expired since the 40-year term of service run out. In 2008-2013 more than 2 billions of expired cartridges were destroyed, though it did not result in expected rise in the Defense Procurement and Acquisition. By 2017 the federal plan (projected until 2020) will finance the disposal of 1,2 billions cartridges.

Considering the current situation, the Ministry of Industry and Trade suggests to dispose 2 billions of cartridges every year and at the same time purchase the new cartridges up to a figure of 1 billions Russian rubles. The disposal of expired cartridges will be carried out at the gunpowder factory of Tambov, Vympel cartridge-manufacturing plant in Amur and Transfer lines Design Bureau n.a. Koshkin. Besides, it is necessary to resolve the import problem of non-military weapon cartridges. Russia developed the complete production cycle of interchangeable smooth-bore weapon cartridges. Still there is no production of cartridges for the rifled-bore weapon of foreign make. It will be procured from Brazil, China and South Africa.

To recap, the Western sanctions touch upon the Russian corporation Kalashnikov. 80% of export of the latter accrue to the US and Canada.


Russian ammunition manufacturers are at risk of being shut down: did EU sanctions work?
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