Vladimir Putin also signed a decree on Wednesday giving presidential status to the Military Industrial Commission. The Deputy PM in charge of the weapons industry, Dmitry Rogozin, was appointed deputy chairman of the commission.
Also on Wednesday Putin spoke with a group of top defense industry officials and told them that while Russia did not intend to artificially halt cooperation with foreign partners, the priorities lay in the ability to independently produce all critically important equipment, materials and devices. “We must do everything to ensure that national security is absolutely guaranteed,” the President said.
Earlier this week Putin ordered the winding up of the Rosoboronzakaz and Rosoboronpostavka agencies which are responsible for placing and executing weapons orders for the military. Their functions will be transferred to the Defense Ministry, Finance Ministry and Audit Chamber.
Russia is currently running a major program to rearm the military. It started in 2008 and will continue till 2020. By then 70 percent of all weapons in the military must be replaced by newer models. The state is allocating significant sums for the purpose – in 2014 the total defense budget amounted to 2.3 trillion rubles ($60 billion), compared to just 600 billion rubles ($15 billion) in 2003.
The crisis in Ukraine has shown the need for even more reforms in the Russian defense sector. Facing the turmoil and hostility of the present Kiev regime, Russian authorities decided to cut ties with Ukrainian weapon makers and go for domestic production. President Putin discussed the plan with Deputy PM Rogozin in late July and said that the inevitable hardships and complications would eventually benefit the nation – new factories will appear in previously underdeveloped places, and old enterprises will be replaced with modern ones.