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    POLITICS OFTEN STAND IN THE WAY OF RUSSIAN CONVENTIONAL ARMS EXPORT - EXPERT

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    MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 17 (RIA NOVOSTI) - Political competition often stands in the way of the export of Russian conventional arms, Alexander Nozdrachev, director general of the Russian Conventional Arms Agency, told the press conference in Moscow on Tuesday.

    "Competition is often at the political level," Nozdrachev said. He explained that importer countries sometimes chose products being guided by political expediency, neglecting the performances of Russian weapons, which often exceed Western.

    Nozdrachev added that in some specimens, particularly small arms, Russia has no competitors. "Only countries making Kalashnikov guns under license can compete," said the director. Fifty million Kalashnikovs have been manufactured in the world, 20 million of which abroad, he continued.

    Low-quality guns are produced there, he said. Russia has no rivals in the production of antitank and short-range antiaircraft missile systems, Nozdrachev noted.

    Russian arms makers are now working on a new generation of all kinds of armaments, such as a new-generation tank.

    "The armor is improving as regards invulnerability of the tank and its crew, the use of high-precision weapons, all-weather performance, high-intelligence systems relying on information supplied by satellites," Nozdrachev said.

    He recalled the development of a new tank on the T-80 basis by manufacturers in Omsk in Siberia. To Nozdrachev, the new tank is unique owing to the use of a powerful gas-turbine engine, giving it dynamic characteristics unprecedented in the world.

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