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Vahe Sarukhanyan

Armenia’s Fiasco at IDEX-2021: Faulty Documents and Negligence

Hetq has revealed that the main reason why Armenia showed up at the Abu Dhabi IDEX-2021 (International Defense Exhibition & Conference) with empty shelves, even though paying 144 million drams (US$371,000) to participate, was that Armenia failed to provide appropriate accompanying documents to transport such cargo.

Russian customs officials, at the time, uncovered the faulty documentation and the dual-use and military cargo was left stranded in Moscow.

The twenty-three items were returned to Armenia in the summer of 2022.

The prominent twice-yearly International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) has been held in Abu Dhabi since 1993.

Armenia, to its embarrassment, only had brochures to hand out at IDEX-2021 and the Armenian Ministry of High-Tech Industry tried to conceal its negligence by alleging that “logistical” problems arose during the transportation process.

A Hetq source revealed the following glaring example of what went wrong.

It appears that several Armenian-made drones scheduled to be flown to Abu Dhabi via Flydubai were too big to fit through the airline’s cargo door, thus forcing Armenia to send the exhibits via Aeroflot, through Moscow.

Hetq’s source says that in 2019 it was Armenia’s Military-Industrial Committee that coordinated the transport of exhibits to IDEX, but in 2021 less experienced employees of Market development department of Ministry of High Tech Industry assumed the work.

Following the foul-up, the Ministry of High Tech Industry launched an investigation, and three employees were reprimanded.

Before the Armenian-made products were returned, the Ministry of High-Tech Industry changed minister three times.

In April 2021, Hakob Arshakyan was replaced by Hayk Chobanyan, who served until August. Chobanyan was succeeded by Vahagn Khachaturyan, who in turn was elected the President of Armenia in March 2022. Robert Khachatryan now serves as minister.

Why it took well over one year for Russia to return the equipment to Armenia remains a subject for speculation? Some point to the recent rift in relations between Moscow and Yerevan.

The Ministry of High Tech Industry paid 641,000 AMD to Aeroflot to fly the goods back to Yerevan.

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