The U.S.S.R. has been gone for just over 21 years now, the terror it once exercised over the West deflated into a patched-up old Halloween ghost. Yet, despite the death of the superpower, Russia’s determination to expand its military might has hardly waned.
Russia has recently touted itself as producing the best military hardware in the world, and the nuclear power continues to provide all manner of weaponry to the buyers in the Middle East and elsewhere, despite complaints from the western countries whose enemies Russia is arming.
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently stated that Russia sold more than $14 billion in arms and services in 2012. Russia exports its weapons and hardware to eighty-eight countries. Fifty-seven countries are regular buyers, and India remains the largest buyer of Russian military equipment.
Putin promises to increase his country’s military spending by $770 billion from 2014-2020. Russia’s booming sales and profits from their natural oil and gas resources have allowed them to increase their manufacturing of military hardware for export.
Russia’s T-90, T-70 tanks, and Su-35M jets arm some of the strongest armies in Africa, namely Algeria, Uganda, and Chad. Business Insider has called the T-90 Russian battle tank “just as advanced” as the United States’ M1 battle tank at more than half the cost. Russia plans to introduce the T-99 in 2014.
The Su-35 Russian jet is a twin-engine multi-role fighter, an old name on a new plane that Russia hopes will dominate the world market. Libya was a major buyer of the aircraft before the overthrow of the Gadhafi regime.
Fresh talks between the new Libyan authorities and Russia are expected to resume military cooperation between the two parties. Libya recently signed a contract to upgrade 200 T-72 tanks, offering Russia another promising customer as it seeks to build business in the market of restoring, upgrading, and repairing military hardware.
Russia has a healthy portfolio of agreements with Iraq worth more than $4 billion. Between tanks and aircraft, other countries have a shopping list of items to purchase from Russia’s weapons and hardware store.