Russia Ambivalent Over Farnborough Snub
Published: July 9, 2014 (Issue # 1819)
Although Moscow responded stormily to the U.K. Foreign Office's refusal to invite Russian officials to the Farnborough International Airshow because of "Russian actions in Ukraine," analysts believe these outbursts are unlikely to impact the country's ability to strike military deals with foreign partners.
"That a large portion of the Russian delegates have been denied British visas is an unhealthy sign of dishonest competition, a sign of weakness, if you wish," said Sergei Kornev, the head of Russia's
Rosoboronexport defense export delegation at the Farnborough Airshow, ITAR-Tass reported Monday. "A strong, self-confident player would not resort to such tactics."
The Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement Monday, saying it expected official clarification on the situation from British officials and that it reserved the right to reciprocate. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the country's military-industrial complex, wrote on Twitter on Sunday that the members of the delegation who were already at the airshow should "return home."
Some Russian entities seem to have already reacted to Rogozin's plea. Sberbank, a major financial partner of Russian aerospace companies, announced Monday that it would not be taking part in this year's edition of the airshow because of "changing priorities in the implementation of exhibition activities," but said it would continue to cooperate with Farnborough in the future, RIA Novosti reported.
According to Ivan Konovalov, deputy director of the Moscow-based Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, Rogozin's reaction was "emotional" and his plea to withdraw from the event will ultimately have no impact on Russia's dealings with its partners in the civil and military aviation industry.
"Contracts are not made at these types of airshows," Konovalov told The St. Petersburg Times on Monday. "When contracts are signed at Farnborough, it means that there has been a long negotiation process prior to the actual signing. And this, of course, does not take place at the airshow. Russia still has a stand at Farnborough; it is still being represented, despite any calls to boycott."
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