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Arms Transfers: U.S. and Russia’s Biggest Trading Partners

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This graphic highlights trade partners for U.S. and Russia arms transfers

Arms Transfers: U.S. and Russia’s Biggest Trading Partners

The increase in conflicts worldwide, including in Ukraine and the Middle East, has shifted global focus back onto arms transfers between countries.

For decades, countries proficient in arms manufacturing have supplied weapons to other countries in demand of them. At the helm of these trades are the U.S. and Russia, which have accounted for 57% of all international arms trades in the last 10 years.

So who are the largest importers of arms from these two countries, and what is the military value of these trades?

With the help of data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) arms transfer database, the above infographic by Ruben Berge Mathisen visualizes the top 50 biggest arms recipients by value for both the U.S. and Russia in the last decade.

The Military Valuation of Arms Transfers

The military valuation of arms is measured in terms of trend-indicator values (TIV). This valuation reflects the military capability of a particular item rather than its financial value.

Every weapon that falls under the conventional definition of major arms is allotted a TIV. The following are the most common weapons and components to be assigned a TIV.

  • Aircraft and armored vehicles
  • Artillery (>100mm in caliber)
  • Sensors and guided missiles, large air defense guns, torpedoes, and bombs
  • 100mm caliber artillery-armed ships (>100-tonne displacement)
  • Reconnaissance satellites and air refueling systems

Instead of focusing on budget, examining TIV makes it easier to measure trends in the flow of arms between particular countries and regions over time, essentially creating a military capability price index.

Biggest Recipients of U.S. Armaments

The United States is the largest exporter of arms globally, responsible for 35% of global exports over the last 10 years to about 130 nations.

Most recently, the biggest market for U.S. arms sales has been in the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia being the most prominent recipient of weapons. Over the last decade, the country has purchased 24% of total U.S. arms exports, with components worth over 18 billion TIVs.

Here is a look at the top 50 recipients of arms from the United States:

U.S. Arms Transfer RecipientContinentTIV (Millions)
🇸🇦 Saudi ArabiaAsia18,641
🇦🇺 AustraliaOceania8,668
🇰🇷 South KoreaAsia7,207
🇦🇪 UAEAsia7,190
🇯🇵 JapanAsia5,026
🇮🇳 IndiaAsia4,614
🇬🇧 United KingdomEurope4,332
🇶🇦 QatarAsia4,235
🇹🇼 TaiwanAsia3,789
🇹🇷 TurkeyAsia3,722
🇮🇶 IraqAsia3,532
🇮🇱 IsraelAsia3,460
🇸🇬 SingaporeAsia2,571
🇦🇫 AfghanistanAsia2,547
🇪🇬 EgyptAfrica2,334
🇮🇹 ItalyEurope2,281
🇲🇦 MoroccoAfrica2,281
🇳🇴 NorwayEurope2,196
🇳🇱 NetherlandsEurope2,060
🇰🇼 KuwaitAsia1,900
🇨🇦 CanadaAmericas1,806
🇵🇰 PakistanAsia1,070
🇮🇩 IndonesiaAsia982
🇲🇽 MexicoAmericas782
🇴🇲 OmanAsia779
🇯🇴 JordanAsia675
🇩🇰 DenmarkEurope548
🇧🇷 BrazilAmericas510
🇸🇪 SwedenEurope505
🇨🇴 ColombiaAmericas472
🇵🇭 PhilippinesAsia450
🇫🇷 FranceEurope438
🇫🇮 FinlandEurope389
🇬🇷 GreeceEurope359
🇱🇧 LebanonAsia350
🇹🇭 ThailandAsia342
🇵🇱 PolandEurope336
🇨🇱 ChileAmericas335
🇪🇸 SpainEurope292
🇷🇴 RomaniaEurope275
🇹🇳 TunisiaAfrica251
🇩🇪 GermanyEurope221
🇧🇭 BahrainAsia187
🇵🇹 PortugalEurope179
🇳🇬 NigeriaAfrica154
🇳🇿 New ZealandOceania150
🇧🇩 BangladeshAsia123
🇨🇭 SwitzerlandEurope117
🇻🇳 VietnamAsia108
🇦🇷 ArgentinaAmericas103

The U.S. remains the biggest global exporter of weapons globally, however, sales of military equipment to foreign countries dipped by 21% over the previous fiscal year, dropping from $175 billion in 2020 to $138 billion in 2021.

Biggest Recipients of Russian Armaments

Russia, the world’s second-largest arms dealer, was responsible for 22% of global arms exports between 2011 and 2021.

In terms of TIVs, India remains the biggest importer of Russian weapons by a wide margin. India’s dependency on Russian-made arms is driven by its fight to quell the military assertiveness of China on one side and its constant skirmishes along the Pakistani border on the other.

But despite the continued support of Russia and its President by the Indian Prime Minister, even in the wake of Russia’s war on Ukraine, some reports have shown that India has been looking elsewhere for arms in the last few years.

Let’s take a look at some of the other biggest importers of Russian arms around the world:

Russian Arms Transfer RecipientContinentTIV (Millions)
🇮🇳 IndiaAsia22,869
🇨🇳 ChinaAsia9,419
🇩🇿 AlgeriaAfrica7,235
🇻🇳 VietnamAsia5,554
🇪🇬 EgyptAfrica3,998
🇮🇶 IraqAsia2,015
🇦🇿 AzerbaijanAsia1,967
🇰🇿 KazakhstanAsia1,841
🇻🇪 VenezuelaAmericas1,743
🇸🇾 SyriaAsia1,729
🇧🇾 BelarusEurope1,190
🇲🇲 MyanmarAsia856
🇺🇬 UgandaAfrica611
🇦🇪 UAEAsia578
🇦🇴 AngolaAfrica501
🇮🇩 IndonesiaAsia490
🇮🇷 IranAsia476
🇧🇩 BangladeshAsia454
🇦🇫 AfghanistanAsia441
🇵🇰 PakistanAsia437
🇦🇲 ArmeniaAsia373
🇹🇷 TurkeyAsia344
🇹🇲 TurkmenistanAsia307
🇷🇸 SerbiaEurope296
🇳🇬 NigeriaAfrica249
🇸🇩 SudanAfrica244
🇵🇪 PeruAmericas221
🇯🇴 JordanAsia204
🇲🇳 MongoliaAsia171
🇺🇿 UzbekistanAsia156
🇳🇮 NicaraguaAmericas121
🇱🇦 LaosAsia118
🇰🇼 KuwaitAsia113
🇧🇷 BrazilAmericas98
🇸🇸 South SudanAfrica82
🇲🇱 MaliAfrica73
🇪🇹 EthiopiaAfrica69
🇹🇭 ThailandAsia68
🇿🇦South AfricaAfrica50
🇨🇲 CameroonAfrica45
🇰🇬 KyrgyzstanAsia41
🇷🇼 RwandaAfrica41
🇶🇦 QatarAsia40
🇱🇾 LibyaAfrica36
🇧🇭 BahrainAsia31
🇹🇯 TajikistanAsia30
🇨🇾 CyprusAsia28
🇨🇬 Republic of the CongoAfrica27
🇬🇭 GhanaAfrica27
🇺🇦 Ukraine RebelsEurope24

One relationship of significance is Russia’s provided weapons to Pro-Russia Ukrainian Rebels. Since 2014, Russia has offered arms and training to these rebels in their fight. These have included weapons of all sorts, from pistols and mines to tanks and missile launchers.

Effect of the War on Ukraine on Arms Trades

According to the latest data from SIPRI, the international arms trade fell by 4.6% in the last five-year period. Despite this, Europe has become a new hotspot for arms imports, seeing a 19% increase in arms transfers over the same time period.

Countries like the U.K., Netherlands, and Norway were the largest importers, and other countries might follow suit.

Experts claim that this upsurge is attributed to the crumbling relationship between Russia and Europe. Alarmed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, European countries have been reevaluating their defense budgets—as exemplified by Germany’s recent €100 billion commitment to boost its military strength.

In the coming years, the U.S. and Russia’s biggest arms transfer partners are likely to shift. But which way will arms transfers trend?

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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Politics

Mapped: 2024 Global Elections by Country

It’s election year around the world, and this map of 2024 global elections by country shows just how many people will be impacted.

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2024 global elections map

Mapping 2024 Global Elections by Country

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

With almost half of the world’s population residing in countries holding executive or legislative elections in 2024, it’s set to be the busiest election year ever recorded.

This visualization uses collated 2024 global elections data from our 2024 Global Forecast Series as well as from Time, while country populations are taken from Worldometer as of January 2024.

Countries Holding 2024 Elections Around the World

Many people are already aware of the U.S. presidential and legislative elections set to be held on November 5th, especially due to American influence on the global political stage and media coverage.

But two governments affecting larger populations, India and the European Union, are also slated to have elections in 2024.

Below, we sort the countries expected to hold elections in 2024 by population (countries with no set election date yet have been marked “N/A”):

CountryElection DateTypePopulation
🇮🇳 IndiaN/ALegislative1,428,627,663
🇪🇺 European Union6/6/2024Legislative448,387,872
🇺🇸 United States11/5/2024Executive & Legislative339,996,563
🇮🇩 Indonesia2/14/2024Executive & Legislative277,534,122
🇵🇰 Pakistan2/8/2024Legislative240,485,658
🇧🇩 Bangladesh1/7/2024Legislative172,954,319
🇷🇺 Russia3/15/2024Executive144,444,359
🇲🇽 Mexico6/2/2024Executive & Legislative128,455,567
🇮🇷 Iran3/1/2024Legislative89,172,767
🇬🇧 UKN/ALegislative67,736,802
🇿🇦 South Africa5/29/2024Legislative60,414,495
🇰🇷 South Korea4/10/2024Legislative51,784,059
🇩🇿 AlgeriaN/AExecutive45,606,480
🇺🇦 Ukraine3/31/2024Executive36,744,634
🇺🇿 UzbekistanN/ALegislative35,163,944
🇬🇭 Ghana12/7/2024Executive & Legislative34,121,985
🇲🇿 Mozambique10/9/2024Executive & Legislative33,897,354
🇲🇬 MadagascarN/ALegislative30,325,732
🇻🇪 VenezuelaN/AExecutive28,838,499
🇰🇵 North KoreaN/ALegislative26,160,821
🇹🇼 Taiwan1/13/2024Executive & Legislative23,923,276
🇲🇱 MaliN/AExecutive23,293,698
🇸🇾 SyriaN/ALegislative23,227,014
🇱🇰 Sri LankaN/AExecutive & Legislative21,893,579
🇷🇴 RomaniaN/AExecutive & Legislative19,892,812
🇹🇩 ChadN/AExecutive18,278,568
🇸🇳 Senegal12/15/2024Executive17,763,163
🇰🇭 Cambodia2/25/2024Legislative16,944,826
🇷🇼 Rwanda7/15/2024Executive & Legislative14,094,683
🇹🇳 TunisiaN/AExecutive12,458,223
🇧🇪 Belgium6/9/2024Legislative11,686,140
🇯🇴 JordanN/ALegislative11,337,052
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic5/19/2024Executive & Legislative11,332,972
🇸🇸 South SudanN/AExecutive & Legislative11,088,796
🇨🇿 CzechiaN/ALegislative10,495,295
🇦🇿 Azerbaijan2/7/2024Executive10,412,651
🇵🇹 Portugal3/10/2024Legislative10,247,605
🇧🇾 Belarus2/25/2024Legislative9,498,238
🇹🇬 Togo4/20/2024Legislative9,053,799
🇦🇹 AustriaN/ALegislative8,958,960
🇸🇻 El Salvador2/4/2024Executive & Legislative6,364,943
🇸🇰 Slovakia3/23/2024Executive5,795,199
🇫🇮 Finland1/28/2024Executive5,545,475
🇲🇷 Mauritania6/22/2024Executive4,862,989
🇵🇦 Panama5/5/2024Executive & Legislative4,468,087
🇭🇷 Croatia9/22/2024Executive & Legislative4,008,617
🇬🇪 Georgia10/26/2024Executive & Legislative3,728,282
🇲🇳 Mongolia6/28/2024Legislative3,447,157
🇲🇩 MoldovaN/AExecutive3,435,931
🇺🇾 Uruguay10/27/2024Executive & Legislative3,423,108
🇱🇹 Lithuania5/12/2024Executive & Legislative2,718,352
🇧🇼 BotswanaN/ALegislative2,675,352
🇳🇦 NamibiaN/AExecutive & Legislative2,604,172
🇬🇼 Guinea BissauN/AExecutive2,150,842
🇲🇰 North Macedonia5/8/2024Executive & Legislative2,085,679
🇲🇺 Mauritius11/30/2024Legislative1300557
🇰🇲 Comoros1/14/2024Executive852,075
🇧🇹 Bhutan1/9/2024Legislative787,424
🇸🇧 Solomon Islands4/17/2024Legislative740,424
🇲🇻 Maldives3/17/2024Legislative521,021
🇮🇸 Iceland6/1/2024Executive375,318
🇰🇮 KiribatiN/AExecutive & Legislative133,515
🇸🇲 San MarinoN/ALegislative33,642
🇵🇼 Palau11/12/2024Executive & Legislative18,058
🇹🇻 Tuvalu1/26/2024Legislative11,396

A few notable elections have already occurred. Taiwan held general elections on January 13th, with the more anti-China Democratic Progressive Party retaining the presidency but losing its majority in the legislature.

Pakistan also held elections on February 8th, with former Prime Minster Imran Khan’s party and affiliates winning a plurality of seats but losing power to a military-backed coalition.

Pakistan’s election results were cast into doubt by foreign observers and media, with Khan having been arrested and sentenced to prison on corruption charges. It is far from the only country holding controversial and potentially undemocratic elections in 2024.

Bangladesh’s landslide January 7th elections were boycotted by the opposition and voters, and Russia’s March 15th elections had three anti-war presidential candidates barred from competing, including Alexei Navalny before his controversial death in February.

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