From the absence of some blue cheese or fish with an exotic name, we will not die. But what will happen if the sanctions begin to beat hard on our defense industry? How Russia is able to produce weapon independently and who can be our ally in this? Will it be possible in a short time, so as not to lose the defense capability, to make the same import substitution?
The sanction war declared by Russia, judging by the scale of hostilities on the trade front, has entered an active phase. We have not yet felt serious consequences from it. Now they are only predicted, calculated and commented by experts and analysts. Kiev also announced a ban on the supply of its defense products to Russia, thereby effectively destroying its own defense industry. Will this be a serious blow to the Russian defense industry? How will it affect the state of our defense industry, which has powerful integration ties with the Ukrainian one?
On this topic, "MK" talked with the director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Ruslan Pukhov:
“We must clearly distinguish between the two types of restrictions that our country will face: Western sanctions and the Ukrainian embargo on the supply of military-technical products, which was formally introduced by the decisions of President Poroshenko.
The Kiev embargo will have medium-term consequences that will ultimately prove positive for the Russian engineering industry and extremely destructive for the Ukrainian economy.
- But we will not feel this positive effect soon. What to do now? You can’t go far away and fly away only on talks about import substitution. It is required now to restructure production.
- Yes, for three to five years, Russia will face serious difficulties in implementing the State Defense Order. After all, now we are receiving from Ukraine about 3000 items of goods as part of the state defense order. For production only tanks T-90S uses almost two dozen components of Ukrainian production. But Russian industry can replace any products that are now produced in Ukraine. It is a matter of money, time and organization.
At the same time, the available cash reserves of repair kits, for example, on helicopter engines will minimize the negative consequences of the Ukrainian embargo. And the Ukrainian enterprises themselves will do everything possible to circumvent the ban.
Another thing is that within the framework of the existing state-monopoly model of the economy in Russia, this process of import substitution itself will be extremely costly and possibly longer than it seems now.
A lot of people and enterprises will now rush to the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Industry and Trade with shouts: "Give me a million, give a million for import substitution." The price tag on the creation of new industries will most likely be very inhuman, because the war will write off everything - the circumstances of force majeure. The cost of new products, at least at first, will be several times higher than similar Ukrainian ones. Such examples already existed when the price for one of the types of products after the organization of their production in Rybinsk was five times higher than the analogues produced at the Zaporozhye enterprise Motor Sich.
- In our defense industry, under the slogan of import substitution of components from Ukraine, the state budget has been “sawing” for years. Recently, they shouted: “Ukraine is going to NATO! Give money, and we will do everything we bought in Ukraine ourselves. ” Gave money. But when they ran out, it suddenly turned out that in Ukraine it was better and cheaper to buy components. And about NATO immediately forgotten. Even they themselves began to buy weapons there.
- We have been talking about import substitution of Ukrainian products for a long time. The presence of colossal political risks in relations with Ukraine became clear as early as 2004, when Viktor Yushchenko came to power in this country as a result of the Orange Revolution. Even then, the need to implement import substitution programs became obvious, if not for the entire product range, then at least for the most key positions, primarily for helicopter and ship engines.
In the "fat" years - from 2004-th to 2008-th - it was quite possible. But neither the state, which at that time spent so much effort and money on the expropriation of private assets in the defense industry, nor the industry itself could not or did not want to. And this speaks of the quality of government in the country in general and the quality of industrial policy in particular.
- Our industrial policy can repel any supplier. Even Ukrainian, which is completely dependent on the Russian market. But he is forced to look for markets on the side.
“No one should have any illusions here - Ukrainian engineering products are needed mainly by Russia and a little more by China and India.” The loss of the Russian market will have fatal consequences for this sector of the Ukrainian national economy. And, as it seems to me, this time, unlike 2004 of the year, the Rubicon was crossed, and the process of import substitution of Ukrainian products in Russia is given an irreversible dynamics.
Even if the crisis in the east of Ukraine is resolved, and Russian-Ukrainian relations are normalized, the officials responsible for fulfilling the state defense order have now experienced such a psychological shock that the decisions taken to replace Ukrainian products will be implemented regardless of the political situation.
In this sense, the only long-term survival strategy for generals of the majority of Ukrainian defense industry enterprises is strong support for the Novorossiysk political project. Only within the framework of a single economic and defense-industrial space with Russia, which can take place only with Novorossia, is it possible not only survival, but also development of the industry of the southeast.
As part of the chimerical education, which is a post-Soviet Ukraine, the elimination of industry, the simplification and primitivization of the political and social landscape of the south-eastern regions are inevitable. Without Russia, Ukraine’s specialization in the world economy is the supply of prostitutes and plumbers to the world market.
- But we ourselves do not balance on the edge of world technical progress. And if, with the help of sanctions, we are also excommunicated from advanced Western technologies, our future may turn out to be unenviable ...
- The consequences of Western sanctions will be much deeper and more lasting than some people think. I would say that if the Ukrainian crisis is not settled in one way or another in the next three to four months, tectonic shifts in political, economic and everyday life are waiting for us.
The entire post-Soviet economic policy was built on the basis of the fact that Russia is an open economy, the level of integration of which into the world economy is gradually increasing. Modernization of the country and the economy was conceived as a consistent increase in access to Western technologies (acquired through oil and gas rents) and Western markets.
All this is in the past. We are no longer alone, we are isolated.
- Isn't it too early about isolation? It sounds scary ...
- Since this is already a given, you should not be afraid of this word. Russia's answer can be twofold.
Firstly, this is a reorientation to the historically more familiar for us mobilization methods of modernization, the most striking historical examples of which were the Petrine and Bolshevik modernization.
Secondly, it is the transfer of economic activity from the European to the Asian part of the country and a sharp increase in political and economic ties with China and other growing non-Western centers of power.
Crouching under its overlord, the United States, denying Russia its natural right to eliminate the geopolitical consequences of the national catastrophe of the 1991 of the year, senile Europe will only accelerate its transformation into a museum of history.
- In order, as you say, to carry out modernization by “mobilization methods”, bright personalities are required: production organizers, engineers, designers. We have the same “effective managers”.
- Activation of mobilization tools will require profound changes in domestic policy, and above all - a sharp increase in the level of responsibility of the political and economic elite. At one time, in an interview with your own newspaper, I allowed myself to throw the phrase: "The invigorating frosty freshness of 1937 of the year is what the country needs today." What caused the predictable excitement of liberal publicists. But few of them realized that it was not about resuming mass repressions, but about a sharp increase in the level of responsibility of the current relaxed and indifferent elite and a radical increase in the efficiency of the state apparatus. But then, one and a half or two years ago, it was just a tough phrase thrown into polemic, but today it is a severe imperative.
- In anticipation of a "radical increase in the efficiency of the state apparatus," we will still have to live in isolation for some time. We have already lost the habit of it. It turns out that you need to get used to the "hardship and deprivation"?
- I observed two countries and two societies living under conditions of perennial Western sanctions: Iraq of the 2002 model of the year and Iran of the 2009 model.
Iraq is a completely ravaged country, a demoralized, culturally and mentally degraded population. It seems that the country froze in the middle of 70's. Saddam came to power, the war began with Iran - and as if the hands of the clock froze: economic and social development stopped.
Completely different picture in Iran. It is evident that people live is not rich, but there are no beggars and even no poor ones. High level of literacy, excellent awareness of events in the world and the country, openness in discussing Iranian and world problems, decent infrastructure. The most prestigious professions are not PR and political consultants, but you will not believe, a doctor and an engineer at the Isfahan aircraft factory.
That is, sanctions and isolation can cripple the country, and, on the contrary, can be a stimulus for its development. Everything depends on the size of the economy, the competence of the political leadership, the strength of cultural and civilizational traditions, the determination of the people themselves to preserve their historical subjectness. Russia has all the prerequisites for sanctions to become just an incentive for a new breakthrough, not a collapse.
- It sounds optimistic ... Only, if I recall the Isfahan aircraft factory, I have a small clarification: now there are Ukrainian An-140 airplanes being mass-produced there. I emphasize: Ukrainian, and not Russian at all! We, meanwhile, are flying exclusively on Boeing and Airbus. States want us to not fly at all, and we will not. And they want, as it is now, to sell, to “Dobrolet” another 16 “Boeing 737-800”, and we will again find ourselves on their hook.
- I hope that the incident with Dobrolet will also have strategic long-term consequences. The West has shown that it can simultaneously land the entire Russian commercial Aviation.
Finally, we all saw with our own eyes the entire squalor of the policies of airlines targeting the purchase of foreign aircraft, and all the government's short-sightedness that allowed the Russian domestic passenger aircraft market to be given to foreigners.
By the way, here is a great example of economic collaboration. It is the top management of state-owned and privately owned airline owners (most of which are registered offshore) that is an excellent illustration of how national interests were brought in favor of short-term profit. It is Russian airlines, and not Pogosyan - the head of the UAC, as the press often likes to write, including your newspaper, killed the projects Tu-334 and Tu-204.
- Everybody tried: both airlines and UAC ...
- ... Now the danger of technological dependence in the field of commercial aircraft is obvious to all. It is better to have a little less sophisticated, but own planes, than to suddenly face the need of the whole country to change trains. Although Railways will probably not mind.
- Well, where is the way out? What is the alternative?
- China. We are used to seeing China as a factory of cheap, low-quality products, but this has not been the case for a long time. The volume of industrial production in China exceeds industrial production in the United States, although the US economy still surpasses the Chinese in size. But this is not for long.
The PRC ranks third in the number of scientific articles published in peer-reviewed scientific journals after the EU and the USA - the PRC accounted for 11% of their total number in the world, and in 2013, China’s share increased to 15%. It is already possible to name a number of sectors of the PRC industry, cooperation with which will protect the Russian defense industry and civilian high-tech industries from the already introduced and expected in the future large-scale sanctions from the United States and its satellites.
- For example?
- This is microelectronics, in particular, the production of element base, surveillance and reconnaissance systems, unmanned aerial vehicles. Through China, you can get high-tech machining centers, components for thermal imaging sights. To this should be added the presence of the PRC of the giant-scale scientific and technical intelligence services in the composition of the Ministry of State Security, the Ministry of Industry and Information, the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army of China.
The successful abduction in 2009 – 2010 of a terabyte of information from the information networks of firms participating in a consortium to create a fifth-generation fighter F-35 shows that China is able to extract sensitive information from Western sources.
- Do you think our scientific and technical intelligence will also help circumvent sanctions?
- Only those who have watched Stirlitz films too much and played spies as a child in their childhood believe in the omnipotence of intelligence services. Exploration can produce technical solutions, but they are useless if there is no appropriate technological base to reproduce them.
Russia is lagging behind the West, not because we have no talented engineers and designers, but because it takes hundreds of billions of euros to close the technological gap and two or three decades is at best.
In addition, there was still a problem in the USSR when the economy was simply not able to use the information and knowledge obtained by intelligence. There simply were no recipients or a connection was broken, the channel for transmitting the necessary information to industry or agriculture. Now with this even harder. So espionage will not help us. We have to work ourselves.