MOSCOW AND MINSK SHAPE FOREIGN POLICY
Izvestia, August 22, 2002, p. 4
First Deputy Foreign Minister Valery Loshchinin has described foreign policy cooperation between Russia and Belarus as “solid and constructive”. Loshchinin arrived in Minsk yesterday on a brief working visit for talks with Belarussian Foreign Minister Mikhail Khvostov. Loshchinin emphasized: “This meeting is taking place on instructions from the presidents of Russia and Belarus, based on the results of the recent Russia-Belarus meeting at the highest level; it is a continuation of our dialogue on foreign affairs.” The issues on the agenda for these talks include: cooperation between Moscow, Minsk, and European organizations; topics for the forthcoming UN General Assembly in New York; and progress on preparations for the CIS summit in Kishinev, Moldova, on October 7.
THE PRESIDENT AS PILOT
Trud, August 22, 2002, p. 2
The media are not supposed to find out military secrets; thus, journalists were politely requested to leave the meeting hall at the Sukhoi aviation enterprise after hearing President Putin’s opening speech. Putin congratulated the assembled defense sector executives and generals on Armed Forces Day, noting that the aviation industry is a very important component of Russia’s national defense and the Russian economy. Putin promised that the government would devote more attention to the state of military as well as civil aviation.
“We have always been, and still remain, proud of our aviation,” said the president.
Then the big screen in the hall lit up with a table depicting the state of the defense sector, and journalists were asked to leave.
The previous day, Sukhoi spokesman Yuri Chervakov explained: “The discussion will certainly cover creating a fifth-generation fighter.”
The power of the state, defense capacity – these concepts are now closely interwoven with words such as “market”, “competition”, “strengthening the economy”. The aviation industry employs 500,000 people at 300 enterprises.
The president said: “Aviation accounts for half of Russia’s arms exports, and 45% of that comes from Sukhoi.”
Sukhoi CEO Mikhail Pogosian, together with Russian Aerospace Agency chief Yuri Koptev, gave Putin a tour of the aviation plant before the meeting.
Although we did not learn the details of the discussion in the meeting hall, the next day Pogosian told journalists: “In line with the plan developed by the Defense Ministry and the Russian Aerospace Agency for supporting the Air Force, from next year Sukhoi will start work on an extensive program of upgrading Su fighter jets currently in use. This will primarily involve modernizing Su-24, Su-25, and Su-27 fighters. In line with a Cabinet resolution, we have started work on creating a fifth-generation fighter. The first prototype is planned to be built in 2006, and tests should be completed by 2010.”
Air Force commander Colonel-General Vladimir Mikhailov said: “The Air Force will start taking delivery of new hardware as soon as next year: Su-30 multi-purpose fighters and Tu-214 transport planes.”