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Interpolitex Is 20 Years Strong This Month

October 18, 2016
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A live demonstration during Interpolitex 2015. Via Vitaly Kuzmin.

Every year dozens of companies flock to Moscow’s historic VDNH, a Stalin-era edifice whose raison d’être is providing the floor space used by trade shows, for what’s almost an annual rite. It’s called Interpolitex and this year it runs from October 18 until 21. Its purpose is to serve as venue for advertising the latest hardware of Russia’s law enforcement agencies and armed forces.

Interpolitex 2016 marks the event’s 20th anniversary. It’s a special occasion for show organizer BIZON who’ve managed to stage a consistent series that’s been patronized by the national security apparatus these past two decades.

The latest iteration of Interpolitex features a “Tactical Gear Centre.” According to the organizer it’s a section within the venue where 60 different exhibitors are showcasing “tactical and combat gear, survival devices and tools as well as other auxiliary aids and equipment.” As a further incentive for potential customers the products on display can be “acquired at ‘exhibition’ prices.”

But wait. Apparently Interpolitex hasn’t lost sight of an important market. These aren’t Russia’s policemen or commandos. Rather, “enthusiasts of extreme sports from orienteering to strikeball, fans of hunting and fishing as well as any kind fo person who is into the ‘military style.’

In a word, civilians.

21st Century Asian Arms Race (21AAR) is a media partner for Interpolitex.

Interpolitex is a serious affair for Russia’s domestic security complex. This is why more than 200 companies are exhibiting this year including firms from neighboring countries. A significant Chinese presence is on the ground as well–there are at least a handful on the exhibitor’s list–and even Samsung Electronics mustered a token appearance. The sheer number of product categories on display at Interpolitex are divided into “thematic sections.”

These include forensics, special (armored) vehicles, rescue and road safety, information security, border security, coastal security, surveillance, small arms and light weapons, medical equipment, military equipment ballistic protection, and training simulators.

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Another highlight for Interpolitex is the variety of small arms and light weapons on display. Just like at Army 2016 last month Russia’s gunmakers will be out in force at the VDNH and allowing the public to ogle their creations, from thermobaric rocket launchers to submachineguns.

No proper arms show is complete without a little theatrics. On October 22, a Sunday, a five-hour live demonstration of counter-terrorist drills are scheduled in Krasnoarmeysk involving Spetsnaz from the Interior Ministry. Nobody is expected to be killed in real life but, like on previous occasions, there’s going to be ample smoke and gunfire with some yelling.

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