Are US sanctions against Russia's Altai a competitive tools?

Sanctions against the Altai Federal Research and Production Centre imposed under a resolution signed by Susan Burk, US assistant secretary of state for non-proliferation of missile technologies, came into force on July 22. The United States did not explain the reasons behind the decision.

According to Altai Deputy Director Viktor Maryash, the United States has not filed any complaints whatsoever against the centre. Staff members only learnt about the sanctions on the Internet. The centre produces and sells apparatus, composite materials, ultra fine diamonds and other hi-tech products that are in great demand on the world market. Altai maintains co-operation in the sphere of civilian hi-tech developments with companies based in the United States, Germany, Japan, Turkey, and the Netherlands. "Altai only signs contracts after a thorough expert evaluation and in strict compliance with Russian legislation," Mr Maryash says. "Altai's projects with foreign partners have the relevant bodies' approval and we always obey the rules."

"With respect to these and other sanctions, we would like to emphasise that it is up to the United States to restrict its own contacts with Russia's leading defence complex enterprises," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement. "This is the USA's choice."

It would seem that this is the end to the matter.

The US State Department has made a mistake that will affect American companies. However, the problem is not that simple as the United States is not trying to limit solely its own contacts with Russia's research community relying on its authority of a staunch supporter of the non-proliferation regimes. It is no secret that the world, especially Europe, China, and South-East Asia, have been increasingly interested in Russia's hi-tech achievements.

Russia's leading enterprises in this sphere are well known. They are the Baltic State Technological University, the Moscow Aviation Institute, the Mendeleyev Chemical-Technological Institute, the Tula Instrument Engineering Design Office, and Omsk's Baranov Engine Works. These enterprises have apparently been included on America's black list for Russia.

Since pragmatism and economic efficiency determine the character of modern inter-state relations, what was the point in imposing restrictions on profitable economic relations? The point is that Russia's major partners on the high technology market, for example European and Chinese aerospace companies, do not see any threat whatsoever emanating from co-operation with Russia. Companies are even urging their governments to step up such co-operation, which undoubtedly is not in America's interests.

Andrei Kislyakov, RIA Novosti

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Author`s name: Editorial Team