“Rosoboronexport” (ROE) is a tougher tongue-twister than “Yukos” or “Gazprom.” Yet the name is very much a symbol of the interests and motivations driving state-led resource consolidation that has swept Russia under the current Kremlin administration.
In December 2005, ROE made headlines when it seized control of the board of directors of Russia’s largest car-maker Avtovaz. ROE’s deputy head Vladimir Artyakov was elected chairman of the board; another high-ranking official became its new chief executive. There were reports that the takeover involved buying 62 percent of Avtovaz shares, though the exact terms of ROE’s financial relations with Avtovaz are still unclear. Around the same time, Russian media started speculating about ROE’s interest in Russia’s major truck producer Kamaz and VSMPO-Avisma, a privately-owned titanium producer with billion-dollar orders from Boeing and other major customers worldwide. AfterROE officially confirmed its plans to buy at least a blocking share of this highly profitable metallurgical corporation in May 2006, the owners of the company, in reversal of an earlier position, conceded and agreed to sell their shares. [...]