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Russian Military-Industrial Companies Left To Self-Governance Following COVID-19 Measures

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Russian Military-Industrial Companies Left To Self-Governance Following COVID-19 Measures

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In view of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement on April 2nd, to extend the mandatory lockdown until April 30th, there’s some uncleared details, such as: What happens with the companies in the military-industrial complex (MIC)?

The companies in the MIC did not receive explanations as to whether they belong to continuous-cycle production facilities and how they should function under the conditions of restrictions on the movement of people, two managers of vertically integrated defense holdings told Vedomosti.

According to one of the unnamed sources, the Ministry of Industry and Trade was gathering information on whether these companies could connect to the production of medical equipment and supplies (such as masks) needed to combat coronavirus infection.

Information was also requested on whether there was a need for additional advance payment to fulfill the state defense order.

But the question of what the status of companies is in connection with the introduction of restrictions on leaving the house remains unclear, he said.

On the one hand, companies that assemble weapons can be declared enterprises with a continuous production cycle, or maybe they aren’t.

These companies are attempting to solve the “crisis” with the local authorities and to figure out what they’re supposed to be doing in conjunction with them.

It would appear that the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the government are now completely occupied with questions of expanding the production of medical products, equipment and medicines necessary because of the epidemic. Everything else is, in a way, abandoned to fend for itself.

According to a source in the aviation industry, the situation with the preparation of operational documents in the government is well illustrated by the fact that in the list of strategic enterprises that can count on state support published on April 2nd, the Almaz-Antey aerospace defense group, which produces air defense systems, was classified as part of the metallurgical industry.

If this picture is true, then it shows a generally low level of state administration of industry, which many had guessed in “peacetime”, but the crisis finally clarified the situation, says Konstantin Makienko, an expert at the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.

The situation recalls the end of June 1941, when the Soviet leadership did not yet understand the extent of what was happening, but it remains to be hoped that this awareness will soon come and a turning point will come, the expert said.

Moreover, the fact that all attention is focused on the production of medical equipment and materials should be considered justified in the current situation, he underlined.

The MIC companies work according to the same rules as the rest of the companies, the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade said.

All companies should adhere to the Presidential decree, except the ones that  have continuous production facilities, operate hazardous facilities, work in the energy sector and in other areas, whose employees continue to fulfill their responsibilities regarding the uninterrupted operation of such types of production.

It is also worth noting that part of the defense industry organizations are involved in the production of personal protective equipment and medical devices, which also continue to work in this area, while observing all necessary sanitary and epidemiological safety measures.

This is mostly worrisome that since there’s less government oversight over these companies, this also creates opportunities for corruption, since even when the authorities are not focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, examples of large-scale fraud and other corruption-related crimes are frequent, especially in the MIC.

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