Leadership: Soviet Secrets Still For Sale

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April 9, 2010: China, which has bought several billion dollars worth of Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems, has approached Belarus about getting a better deal on spare parts and maintenance services. How can this be? Because the Soviet Union distributed its defense plants throughout its territory, many of these factories ended up in foreign countries, when the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991. Belarus inherited some S-300 manufacturing capabilities, which it continues to operate. This gives China another opportunity to take advantage of the murky patent situation that resulted from the demise of the Soviet Union. While the new countries (that were once part of the Soviet Union) owned the weapons plants, the question of who owned the intellectual property (the patents on the weapons produced) is still not nailed down. 

Thus, while Russia has been a major victim of China's program of stealing military technology, other countries have been more willing to share Russian military technology. This provided China with many more opportunities to get Soviet military technology without having to deal with Russia (which is quite unhappy with China's plundering ways.)

Even Belarus, the former part of the Soviet Union that is most closely allied with Russia, has been eager to peddle Soviet military technology to China. Former Soviet factories in Belarus manufactured heavy trucks for transporting and launching large ballistic missiles. Thus Belarus is selling components and technology to assist China in building a transporter for its four ton DF11 ballistic missile. The Chinese WS2400 8x8 heavy duty truck used to carry the DF11 is very similar to Russian models. So the new interest in S-300 components and services sales is welcome in Belarus.

Ukraine, which has frosty relations with Russia, has been exporting engines for China's K8 jet trainer, as well as engines for Chinese helicopters. Ukraine is also willing to sell technology, and send personnel to teach the Chinese how to build it. The Central Asian nations that were formerly part of the Soviet Union have also sold Soviet military technology to China.

 

 


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