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    Aero L-39 Albatros jet trainers of the Rus aerobatic display team perform during the International Aerospace Salon (MAKS 2015) in Zhukovsky near Moscow

    Putin Turns MAKS Into ‘Showcase for Economic Diplomacy’ – French Media

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    MAKS-2015 International Air Show in Russia (31)
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    This year’s MAKS aviation expo once again demonstrated the military might of Russia and also provided Russian President Vladimir Putin with an opportunity to transform the traditional event into what French media named a “showcase for economic diplomacy.”

    The international aviation and space salon MAKS-2015 that was held in Russia’s Moscow region showcased the military power of Russia, La Croix reported.

    If all the contracts signed at the expo are eventually carried out, Russia will bring in revenues of $15.5 billion from arms sales in 2015. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, reaching this level of sales will make Russia the world’s second largest arm supplier after the US.

    Moreover, the Kremlin is not only working on developing the state’s United Aircraft Corporation, which is on par with such giants as Boeing and Airbus and includes brands like “Sukhoi,” “Ilushin,” “Irkut,” and “Tupolev,” but it is also inking contracts with international partners. China has become Russia’s main partner in the aviation industry, especially after sanctions had been imposed on Moscow by the West.

    China is cooperating with Russia to carry out an ambitious project – the construction of a plane that would be on par with the A350 airbus. According to estimates, the airplane will be completed by 2025. Some experts have called the yet-to-be-built machine a real rival to the Airbus.

    “Russians have good ideas and the Chinese have money and production capacity. It [realization of project] could take quite a lot of time, but this plane would definitely pose real threat to the Airbus,” a delegation member of the European group at the MAKS expo told La Croix.

    What Did Putin See at MAKS-2015 Air and Space Show?
    © AFP 2019 / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV
    During his visit at the expo, Putin commented on the need to “develop the unique potential of [Russia’s] space industry and strengthen the country’s position in aeronautics production.” This claim was greeted by potential buyers of Russian hardware, Iran in particular, according to reports.

    The Russian leader also visited the pavilions of Western companies, which have been in support of Russia’s reemerging aviation industry for a long period of time. He had conversations with members of the Airbus and Safran delegations.

    “We had concerns that the “Mistral” issue would affect us badly, as Russia could start doubting France’s business and commercial trustworthiness. When Putin appeared at our pavilion, we calmed down. From a political point of view, he could just pass by without paying attention to us. But he came in. We are staying in Russia!” an unnamed source from Airbus said regarding the Russian leader’s visit.

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    MAKS-2015 International Air Show in Russia (31)

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    France, MAKS-2015, Vladimir Putin, China, Russia
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