The Russian company Navikom, which represent the US-Swiss company Garmin on the Russian market, supplies dual-use high-tech navigation and does not hide the fact that the Russian military is among its customers. For this reason, InformNapalm is publishing inside information on Navikom (navicom.ru) activities and the data on the deliveries by the company of Garmin (garmin.com) navigators for use in combat helicopters, as well as evidence of the use of the navigation devices in the combat area in Ukraine.
InformNapalm volunteers obtained the audio recording of a conversation between a buyer and a seller about Garmin navigators in a Navikom store in Moscow. The person that provided us the record noted that the Navikom representative praised the advantages of Garmin navigators, emphasizing that the Russian military purchased these devices and maps for use in Ukraine and Syria, and that Navikom management cooperates with Russian military, consulting and training them on the use of this navigation equipment; updating and correcting the data for some topographic areas, points and heights. At first glance, this does not seem like a big deal, but Garmin is a Swiss-American company, and it supplies dual use goods to the Russian market. So, what about the sanctions?
Стенограмма разговора в «Навикоме»
- So what, are there many navigators with topographic maps of Ukraine being purchased?
- And they ask for extended warranty…
- Extended warranty?
- Yes, two years of warranty.
- But now nobody should be asking for Syrian maps anymore, or do they still take them?
- They say, give me at least the heights.
- I see, the heights.
- Yes, yes.
- So, they went there, but still rely on an American GPS, American Garmin…
- I asked why not Magellan, they said Magellan works for 20 minutes from the KamAZ (truck) battery.
- I see. So, American Garmin helped in Syria and in Ukraine, correct? Hilarious!
- Well, the kind of people going there, Garmin or anything else, it won’t help.
- I (unclear) for the people, who are using them. It’s just with this… well, the 64 – this is American, I believe, the 62 GPSmap. Anyway, they were in Afghanistan with those sixty-twos, they tested them there. Then they made the 64. It is also where it is needed, they spread the democracy, and now our guys come and ask, do you have the manual in Russian? I say, well, it’s on the website, you can print it out. Our director, he is such a jingoist, he prints all this stacks of paper. He tells me, show me how to use it. It makes no difference, show it or not, read it or not… but they will see that this is scary.
- I see.
InformNapalm researched the deliveries of Garmin equipment to Russia during the period of the sanctions on the supply of military and dual use goods. In particular, we established the following:
- On September 1, 2014 Novikom announced the availability of Ukraine maps for Garmin devices.
- Modernization Aviation Complex, LLC (MAC) and Garmin Corporation in April 2015 signed the agreement for equipment supply, ostensibly for the Cessna 172S simulators.
It is not a secret that MAC works closely with the Russian defense complex, and, of course, no one can guarantee exclusively non-military use of this equipment and that the contract does not serve as a cover for the supply of equipment for military purposes. Especially because MAC has received the license for the development and production of aviation equipment (# 10656-AT-P, # 10675-AT-P), including the dual-use kind.
- Russia continues to manufacture Mi-35 combat strike helicopters for the needs of the Armed Forces and for export, which are equipped with the Garmin GPS115L navigation system.
In December 2014 the helicopters were delivered to the Western Military District, in July 2015 the FSB announced a tender for the supply of Mi-35 helicopters. The export of these helicopters is a separate issue.
- Russian companies that own manufacturing in other countries and work for the Russian Ministry of Defense can purchase Garmin equipment for installation in military vehicles.
- The GRU Sergeant Alexandrov, who was taken prisoner in a firefight near the town of Shchastya in Luhansk Oblast in May 2015 by the soldiers of the Ukrainian 92nd Brigade and who was convicted in the territory of Ukraine, had a smartphone with photos. One of them shows a Garmin GPSmap 76 device. This device is showcased on the company’s website. In the photo we see a TM-62 mine. The coordinates on the device indicate that this is the Fasad operating position of the Ukrainian Army. The scouts, who arrested Yerofeyev and Alexandrov, told InformNapalm volunteers that in their opinion the Russian troops were engaged in mining the access to the Ukrainian position.
- The deliveries of presumably tourist Garmin GPS navigators Garmin to illegal armed groups occurred at large scale and through various supply channels throughout the period of the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Therefore, the company couldn’t miss the increase in the demand for devices and Ukrainian maps. Example of a delivery “for the Prizrak artillery brigade” (specifically, those were Garmin etrex 30 devices). The local representative of the Coordination Center of Assistance for Novorossiya in St. Petersburg Alexandr Lyubimov is posing in the photo with the navigators.
I will try to list and show photos for at least some of the goods.
1) Navigators, binoculars, and radio headsets for the artillerists of the Prizrak Brigade.
- Finally, the iconic photo: the primary navigation equipment of a Russian bomber is a common GPS device.
It turns out that the Russian military and the terrorists carry out military operations against the Ukrainian Army using equipment produced, among other places, in the United States – the country that has consistently advocated the application of sanctions to the aggressor and supports Ukraine in protecting its independence and territorial integrity. Even if in the case of Sergeant Alexandrov it was not a direct delivery to the Russian Ministry of Defense, then based on the above dialogue in the Navikom store, this is a dual-use product used in the undeclared war by the Russian military in the territory of Ukraine.
Existing US sanctions: On March 27, 2014, U.S. Department of State placed a hold on the issuance of International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) licenses for the export of defense articles and defense services to Russia. On April 28, 2014, the hold on licenses was changed to a policy of denial for defense articles or defense services to Russia.
We hope that our publication will serve as a signal for further proceedings on this subject. We hope that the competent US authorities will examine the supply of military and dual-use goods to the Russian Federation, which the aggressor country uses, bypassing the imposed sanctions. We also hope that Garmin will review the activities of its exclusive distributor in Russia ZAO Navikom and will substantially restrict the available product range to include only the products of strictly civilian use.
We thank Katherine Yaresko and Dmitry K. for the collection and analysis of information.
Translated by Andrii Gryganskyi
Edited by Max Alginin
(CC BY) Information specially prepared for InformNapalm.org site, an active link to the authors and our project is obligatory for any reprint or further use of the material.