This is a little off topic, but we often discuss international arms deals on TFB and, like me, many of you readers are big fans of the movie Lord of War (2005) which has been also discussed on TFB a number of times. If you have ever wondered how international arms deals go down, wonder no more. A Russia blogger has documented all the steps it took him to purchase a BRDM-2 amphibious armored vehicle from that wonderful emporium of all things Soviet, the Republic of Belarus. Turns out it is as easy as logging into a Belarus government website, add a tank/plane/apc to your shopping cart and then heading to Belarus with a wad of cash money (equivalent to $9500 USD). Remarkably simple. Тима wrote …
I had to write this blog entry, since many still cannot believe I managed to purchase a BRDM-2 (Combat Reconnaissance/Patrol Vehicle). Yes, I really did buy it, and brought it to Russia myself.
Belarus overall and it’s Defence Ministry in particular do sell a tremendous amount of various combat and non-combat items. Recently they created a moderately easy-to-use website, which contains information on all items up for sale.
They sell everything, from teapots to speedboats, armored personnel carriers and planes. I heard that soon they are going to make it a fully-fledged online store with a shopping basket and delivery services. “Your basket contains 1 item: a T-64B tank. Do you want to continue shopping?”. Fricking amazing! At times the catalogue contains photos of the items, but it’s best to view things like that for yourself. Unfortunately, foreign nationals (including russians) have to book a visit two weeks in advance with the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus (KGB RB for short), otherwise you won’t be able to enter the military bases.
The driver had a nice sense of humor and at the first three police stops he was like:
Police: What’s this?
Driver: That’s for our guys on the South-East.
Police: Okay, carry on.
Now before you go on a Belarus spending spree, make sure there are no sanctions or embargoes preventing the import and export of military equipment to your own country (and all the countries you would need to have the equipment pass through before it gets to you).
It is also worth pointing out that the other way of buying a armored vehicle is to get yourself elected to a school district board.