Moscow’s close ties with Myanmar date back to the 1950s. Given that for most of its modern history the Southeast Asian country has been governed by the military, Russia has developed a working relationship with its uniformed rulers. Incumbent strongman general Min Aung Hlaing has visited Russia on numerous occasions, most recently in June 2020 to attend the Victory Day parade in Moscow, and is known as a champion of Myanmar–Russia ties.
Under Min Aung Hlaing, Myanmar–Russia military cooperation has received a boost. After China, Russia is the country’s second largest supplier of arms, being the source of at least 16 per cent of weaponry procured by Myanmar from 2014–2019. Myanmar’s military is now awaiting the delivery of six Su-30 fighter jets ordered in 2019, and in January 2021 the two sides signed contracts for a Russian air defence system and a suite of surveillance drones.