Traffic in arms market has always been and remains one of the main sources for pumping up the national budgets of many countries. At the same time, it is the battlefield for strengthening the positions with the use of all forbidden methods for fight against competitors. Russia plays on this field uniquely subtly in recent years, as all their actions show neglecting rules of international law and business partners.
Another proof of it was the tender for repair and delivery of spare parts for extension of the useful life of 15 MiG-29/Fulcrums which are in operational service with the Bulgarian Air Force which was organised by the Defence Ministry of Bulgaria. Tender conditions and procedure were written out in such a way that designedly created conditions for a victory of the only one participant – Russian MiG Aircraft Corporation.
Naturally, there shall be those indignant in a situation when the principles of free competition, equality and transparency are broken. This time it was special exporting enterprise Ukrinmash, which applying the legislative provisions, resorted to the Commission on Protection of the Competition and, further, to the Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria. Well, tender results were cancelled!
Regrettably, fewer then all were satisfied by Themis’ verdict. The court judgment caused the storm of protest from the Minister of Defence of Bulgaria Krasimir Karakachanov. The latter called it an attempt to sabotage the decision of his ministry. Moreover, he fell back on accusing Ukrinmash of intended failure of repair work for assuring MiG-29 combat readiness which, in his opinion, threatens not only the bases of Bulgarian national security, but that of the whole NATO alliance.
It seems that the Minister of Defence does not catch all the difficulties of current situation. It is necessary to remind that in October, 2017 pilots of the Bulgarian Air Force refused to fly by MiG-29, alleging as their reasons that the engines supplied by the manufacturer, Russian MiG Aircraft Corporation, are out of repair. Moreover, not all the supporting documentation was provided. As a result, the flying time extremely reduced. This situation should be characterized as very difficult as the military aircraft in Bulgaria participates in protection of both own airspace and that of NATO states which have no own military aircraft.
Moreover, Bulgaria is not the only state that complains of the Russian MiG-29 jet fighters. According to official statements of the Indian Naval Air Forces management, planes regularly fell out and need systematic repair after each flight.
The most intriguing is the fact that Russian MiG Aircraft Corporation is included by U.S. State Department in the list of the Russian companies doing business with which is sanction threatening. It turns out that Bulgaria as the NATO member state after having condemned annexation by the Russian Federation of the Crimean peninsula and supported introduction of restrictive measures against Russia would intend to continue trade connections with the company which is covered by international sanctions.
Perhaps, it might be a personal initiative of Minister of Defence of Bulgaria Mr. Karakachanov, who being guided primarily by self-profit, is about to subject his state to economic sanctions in the defense sphere?
In addition, Karakachanov’s attempts to cover his criminal acts with charges to the Ukrinmash put in jeopardy the seriousness of intention of actual pressure upon the Russian Federation for violation of international law. As, witnessing Karakachanov’s actions, other NATO member states, such as Germany or France, may ask themselves, why then they cannot deliver Siemens turbines or Mistral -Class Carriers?