Military parade in Moscow: a demonstration of what military hardware is exported rather than made for the Russian Armed Forces themselves.

The first military parade in Moscow since 1990 will involve practically all military hardware the Ground Forces received from the national military-industrial complex in the interim. These weapons and systems are assembled for export more than they are for the Russian Armed Forces.

Eight thousand troops with military hardware (including aircraft and helicopters) participated in the dress rehearsal of the May 9 parade yesterday. The troops wore newly designed uniforms. “It is not a warlike gesture or anything. Russia is not threatening anyone,” Vladimir Putin told Cabinet members and presidential administration officials. “It is a demonstration of our growing defense capacities.”

Moscow Military District Commander Vladimir Bakin boasted once that the Russian Armed Forces did have military hardware to display with pride in the parade. In the meantime, it is already known that mobile Topol-M ICBMs the Armed Forces have been receiving since 2007 are not going to participate in the parade (Soviet-vintage Topols are).

On the other hand, Iskander missiles, S-300 PMU-2 Favorite, BUK-M2, and TOR-M1 air defense complexes, T-90A tanks, BMD-4 light armored fighting vehicles, Octopus artillery pieces, and Tiger cross-country type vehicles, will be displayed. The Air Force will be mostly represented by old aircraft – TU-160s, TU-23M3s, IL-78s, SU-24s, SU-27s, MIG-31s, and MIG-29s. Sophisticated SU-34 making test flights nowadays will be the only exception.

Ruslan Pukhov who sits on the Presidium of the Defense Ministry’s Public Council denied the assumption that military parades symbolize revival of militarist ways. Lots of NATO countries organize military parades, not to mention all sorts of Third World countries. “Parades like that are like a report to taxpayers,” Pukhov said.

It should be added, however, that practically all military hardware to be displayed in Moscow on V-Day is sold abroad more often than to the Russian Armed Forces themselves. The military-industrial complex assembled three times as many T-90s tanks and BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles for foreign customers as it did for the Russian army. As for S-300 PMU-2s or BUK-M2s, fighting troops of the Russian army do not have any at all.

“The parade may play an important part in terms of Russian military hardware promotion in foreign markets,” to quote Sergei Suvorov, erstwhile military advisor to Rosoboronexport in the United Arab Emirates. The army of the Emirates for example decided to buy some BMP-3s from Moscow after their demonstration in the last Soviet military parade in 1990. “Moreover, this contract with the United Arab Emirates enabled the national military-industrial complex to retain the capacity to produce BMP-3s throughout the 1990s,” Suvorov added.