Galloping corruption in the Russian space sector

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The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, recognized last week during a meeting with the members of his Government that in the new Vostochni Cosmodrome (oriental) «steal hundreds of millions» of rubles. «It has been said a hundred times: work transparently, large sums are allocated. The project is of national importance. But they steal hundreds of millions, ”he said indignantly before his ministers. According to his words, «There are dozens of open criminal cases, judicial opinions, people in jail, but there – in Vostochni – no order has been achieved».

After these disturbing revelations of the top leader of the country, the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, was asked questions shortly after, during his usual appearance before the media, and had to explain what he was talking about. «In total, 11,000 million rubles were subtracted in Vostochni – some 157 million euros – from which 3,500 million were recovered», around 50 million, said Peskov.

He also said that "in the first phase of the judicial investigations, 128 criminal proceedings were opened after a total of 32 cases" and added that there are already about thirty convicted persons. The presidential spokesman also regretted the fact that "five of the 19 facilities of the cosmodrome have not yet been completed."

The Russian space base of Vostochni, which is located in the Russian region of Amur, in the Far East, next to the border with China, was designed not to depend on the Baikonur Cosmodrome, which is located in a foreign country, in Kazakhstan, something harmful to Putin from the point of view of national pride. From Baikonur, the main launches continue today, those of the Soyuz ships to the International Space Station (ISS), in cooperation with NASA, those of Progress cargo ships and those of numerous artificial satellites.

So the Russian president decided, on November 6, 2007 by decree, that it was time to endow his own cosmodrome and do it in the Amur region, in an area that, being sparsely populated, reduced the risk of fragments of the rockets, after their detachment in flight during the launch, could fall on some population center. There was already an old missile base from the Soviet era called Svobodni (free).

But the construction work itself did not start in Vostochni until 2012. The first launch had been scheduled for 2015, but had to be postponed until the following year, something that irritated Putin. The workers of the complex declared a hunger strike in protest of the non-payment of their salaries. In addition, the initial budget that was planned was outdated. The amount invested so far exceeds 300,000 million rubles (4,285 million euros) and it seems that it is still far from being the definitive.

Critics with Putin criticize him for having created a system in Russia of total corruption and not being able to put a brake on him now. And it is that at the head of Roskosmos, the Russian space agency, is still Dmitri Rogozin, an ultra-nationalist whose sole merit was always to applaud Putin's anti-American and anti-European initiatives. He is accused, among other things, of not knowing or understanding anything about rockets and spaceships.

. (tagsToTranslate) corruption (t) galloping (t) Russian (t) space (t) sector

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