Recently, Defense Minister of Armenia Vigen Sargsyan stated that the weapons supply received from Russia does not fill the need for modern military equipment. According to the Minister, in addition to Russia, Armenia also holds negotiations on the supply of weapons with other countries. “And we already have results and supplies,” Sargsyan said.
It’s No News
In fact, it is not news to anyone that Russia is not the sole supplier of weapons to Armenia and that Russian weapons are not always the most convenient in terms of price / quality ratio.
Almost all combat planes of the Armenian Air Force are bought from Slovakia and Romania, WM-80 multiple launch rocket systems – from China, Black Arrow sniper rifles were delivered by Serbia, and favorite jeeps of Armenian military are of Korean, Japanese production etc.
Add certain weapons from the United States and China in the form of military aid, and we’ll get a more complete picture.
Prior to the accession to the Eurasian Economic Union, Armenia’s Ministry of Defense did not pay any customs duty when purchasing weapons and other equipment… Anything paid went straight to the state budget.
However, according to the Eurasian Economic Union Treaty, customs duty should be payed to the Union budget for weapons, ammunition and any other goods imported from other countries. And only one percent of the customs duties paid returns to the budget of Armenia, while the other 99 goes to the other countries of the EAEU.
The rates for military equipment (weapons, armor, vehicles, etc.) are 18 to 20 percent. That is, if the Defense Ministry now wants to buy, say, German helmets, American bulletproof vests, Slovakian planes, Serbian sniper rifles or French anti-tank systems, then it has to transfer at least 18% of their price to the Eurasian Economic Union budget.
Article 44, Annex 3 of the Treaty of Armenia’s accession to the EAEU stipulates that until 2022, only those goods are exempt from military customs clearance, the analogy of which is not produced in the Eurasian Economic Union. However, Russia in EAEU produces all kinds of military equipment and therefore it’s highly unlikely to find military equipment which does not have its Russia-produced analogue (exceptions are Javelin anti-tank missiles).
We all remember the stories of the goods ordered by individuals for Armenian army, which were stuck in customs for weeks and months… While people were raising own money and ordering various goods from abroad – ranging from binoculars to waterproof capes, they were stuck in the the customs checkpoints, being required to pay their customs duties.
And although in these situations citizens blamed their native customs officers, we should note that all the customs rules and standards were in fact coming from Moscow – Customs Code of the Customs Union, rates established by Eurasian Economic Commission etc.
Customs Service of Armenia simply had no right to avoid customs duties (no matter how much it wanted to). Moreover, as noted above, those customs duties went not into Armenia’s budget, but to that of the Eurasian Economic Union’s.
“Union of Informed Citizens”