Russian arms manufacturers have government permission to seek joint development deals in Western Europe. For decades, Western European arms manufacturers have been cooperating, and merging, to present a stronger competitive effort against U.S. defense firms. Russia has already entered into join development deals with Chinese and Indian firms. Now is the time for Russia to try and expand into Western Europe. The high oil prices have enabled Russia to accelerate loan repayment to its West European lenders. Germany alone is owed nearly $10 billion. These economic links make defense manufacturing cooperation a natural progression.
June 11, 2006: The government has agreed to halt arms shipments to Iran, temporarily, to encourage the Iranians to halt their nuclear weapons development program. Russia has billions of dollars in arms deals with Iran, and does not want to terminate them. Russia is Iran's only source for high tech weapons (like anti-aircraft missile networks). China can only supply low tech stuff, some of which Iran already produces itself.
June 8, 2006: Two government officials in Ingushetia (next door to Chechnya) were murdered. It's hard to tell if the killers were Islamic terrorists, gangsters or political rivals. Another five bodyguards and children were killed along with the main victims.
June 4, 2006: India has a long list of complaints about the T-90 tanks they have bought from Russia. Part of the problems are India's, which has licenses to build many of the tank components, and is running into problems mastering the manufacturing technology. But Russia is ultimately responsible, and is under a lot of pressure to fix everything before Russian weapons take a hit in the reputation department.