Vostochny contractor ordered to pay loans

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

A Moscow court has ordered the main contractor building the Vostochny spaceport to pay back 3.5 billion rubles in debt to its bank.

VTB [the bank] has filed several lawsuits to recover debt from Dalspetsstroy [the contractor]. On February 24, the Moscow Commercial Court granted the bank’s lawsuit seeking 722 million rubles ($11 million) from the company. Another claim for 777 million rubles ($11.5 million) should be considered today.

It was the ex-CEO of this contractor, plus his two sons, who are charged with embezzling over a hundred million rubles from the project.

In related news, this Moscow Times article provides some nice details about Russia’s just approved ten-year plan for its space program. As reported earlier, Russia’s bad economic times has forced them to cut the program to the bone.

Somehow, why do I think that these two stories have so much to do with each other? Could it be that there is some inherent corruption within Russia’s giant government-run aerospace monopoly called Roscosmos that prevents that monopoly from innovating, competing, and doing things efficiently?


  • Call Me Ishmael

    “embezzling over a hundred rubles …”

    Missing “million”?

  • Whoops. Thank you. Post fixed.

  • Edward

    The second link is also interesting. I went to a talk, last week, on commercial space, and the speaker pointed out that the Russians do not really know how much anything they make actually costs. There is too much mixing of activities and not enough financial tracking (e.g. did more people work on this satellite than that one? They don’t know.).

    The lack of tracking may make corruption and embezzlement easy and common, but the point that the speaker was making is that the Russians charge “all the traffic will bear” without knowing whether they are making or losing money. They charged their first space tourist around $20 million, but they are now charging NASA three times that much per astronaut taken to the same ISS — yet they do not know whether they are charging enough to break even.

    They do the same with commercial launches for satellites. They may be subsidizing commercial launches, but it seems to me that this may be worth that expense to keep their rocket scientists, engineers, and technicians proficient. That they are planning to reduce the number of rocket types suggests that they may be learning some of the lessons learned by free-market capitalist companies about efficiency and effectiveness.

    Hopefully, they will learn to *prevent* corruption rather than detect it after the fact. Corruption is always a poor use of scarce resources.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *