Russia admits manufacturing weaknesses

The Russian government promulgated an interesting decree recently. It prohibits the import of foreign goods or work by foreigners for the Russian defense and security sectors, except in cases where the goods or labor is not available domestically. The accompanying list of goods that are exempt from the restriction because they are not produced in Russia nicely demonstrates the areas where Russian defense industry is weak.

Here’s a rough translation of the list:

  • Casting machines used in metallurgy
  • Machines that remove material by laser or other light or photon beam, ultrasonic, electric discharge, electrochemical , electronic beam, ionic – beam or plasma arc processes
  • Waterjet cutting machines
  • Machining centers and unit construction machines used for metal processing
  • Metal lathes
  • Machine tools for drilling, boring, milling, tapping, threading by metal removal
  • Machines for deburring, sharpening, grinding, honing, lapping, polishing or other finishing of metal or ceramic metal using grinding stones, abrasives or polishing products
  • Machines for planing, cross- planing, grooving , broaching, gear cutting , gear grinding or gear finishing , sawing, cutting- off and other machine tools for working metal or ceramic metals by removing material
  • Machine tools ( including presses) for working metal by volume stamping, forging or stamping
  • Metal working machines (including presses) for bending, folding, straightening, cutting,  punching or notching; presses for working metal or carbide metals
  • Other machine tools for working metal or ceramic metals without removing material
  • Machine tools ( including machines for assembly using nails, staples , glue or other means ) for working wood, cork , bone, hard rubber , hard plastics or similar hard materials
  • Measuring or checking instruments, including appliances and machines for measuring or checking geometrical quantities

I don’t know much about machine tools, so someone else will have to address the question of what fraction of machine tools commonly used in defense industry is found on this list. Even someone with little knowledge of the intricacies of industrial production can see that the list shows that there are significant weaknesses in Russian industry’s ability to produce high-tech tools for modern construction methods.

Secondly, the promulgation of the decree in the first place shows that protectionist impulses continue to dominate in the Russian government. To the extent possible, the government is seeking to produce domestically whatever equipment it can.


3 thoughts on “Russia admits manufacturing weaknesses

  1. Pingback: How the Volgograd Attacks Pose a Problem For Russia’s Military Plans |

  2. Dear Dmitry!

    I am a mechanical engineer MSc graduate from Hungary, who works with this kind of equipment. I must agree with the first commenter: This list is NOT showing weakness, but strenght, because everything can be manufactured in Russia, except modern CNC machine tools. However I must say, that nobody manufactures these machines better than Germans and Japanese. In fact nobody can manufacture these complex mechatronical systems in the required quality, except them. I have worked for a multinational manufacturing company, which machined aluminium with high precision. They had only German, Swiss (Zeiss optics, measuring) and Japanese equipment. I would not expect Russia to start research in this complex field, considering, that they have no experience in CNC machine tool building (however they have in old, classical machine tool building) and in the current international situation, where Western propaganda against Russia is on the unthinkable level, Russain goods has no chance competing with German or Japanese goods outside the CIS even if their quality was equally good.

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