Putin slams Roscosmos for continuing corruption at Vostochny


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At a meeting yesterday Russian President Vladimir Putin blasted Roscosmos for the corruption at the new spaceport at Vostochny, noting that despite the prosecution of numerous individuals the criminal behavior continues.

Russian President Putin said at a government meeting on Monday that dozens of criminal cases and jailings had failed to stem theft at the Vostochny spaceport construction site….

“It has been stated a hundred times: you must work transparently because large funds are allocated. This project is actually of the national scope! But, despite this, hundreds of millions, hundreds of millions [of rubles] are stolen! Several dozen criminal cases have been opened, the courts have already passed verdicts and some are serving their prison terms. However, things have not been put in order there the way it should have been done,” the Russian president said.

This article notes that out of $1.4 billion allocated for the spaceport, $169 million has been stolen. It does not however provide any details about any new corruption. Instead, it outlines the investigations and prosecutions that have already taken place.

According to Peskov, “at the first stage, 128 criminal cases were opened, which were later consolidated into 32 criminal cases and at the next stage the Investigative Committee singled out 21 cases and transferred them to the court of law and 18 persons were sentenced at the time,” Peskov said. “The Interior Ministry investigated 8 more cases,” he added.

Either Roscosmos officials revealed to Putin newly discovered corruption that the state-run press has been forbidden to discuss, or Putin’s criticism was aimed to discouraging future corruption.

Either way, Vostochny remains a typical government boondoggle. It has cost Russia far more than it should, and construction has been slow, beginning officially in 2012, though Russia has been working on it in fits and starts since the mid-2000s.

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14 comments

  • wayne

    Enemy at the Gates
    Nikita Khrushchev scene
    https://youtu.be/2IQJY5SsJ64
    3:21

  • BSJ

    A man who enriched himself immensely through corruption is now worried about corruption.

    Has a familiar ring to it, eh?

  • Lee S

    @wayne…. great clip, and makes me want to watch the movie!!! (set in a time when the UK, the USA, and the USSR were unlikely allies….. ), I’m not sure what it has to do with this article though.
    @ everyone else.. ( and I know I’m going to get a lot of flack for this… but so be it….), I might have mentioned before that I have no great problem with Putin…. To a Man and Woman, every Russian I have ever met believes he is a great leader. It would not surprise me if all the election results are correct, although I concede they are conducted on a very biased forum.
    Also, I doubt very much that the allegations of “election rigging” have any basis in reality…. Facebook adds do not have any significant effect on anyone I know…. did anyone here ever click on a facebook add ever?
    To the meat of the issue….I’m guessing that the private space industry in the US is scaring the crap out of Roscosmos, in just a few months we should hopefully see a return of manned space flight over there in the US…
    The US’s purchase of seats from Russia has been a big money earner, so I guess now the pork is in danger, now its time to cut pork to friends…. Just as we are seeing pan out with NASA.
    I have no great love for Russia either, but it is just a country conducting its business in a way different to yours and mine…. and that really has nothing to do with us… In good capitalist fashion, the cheapest and most effective system will win out.

  • Dick Eagleson

    Lee S

    Russia has been a troubled place for its entire history. If said trouble remained strictly internal, there might be some basis for your assertion that, “Russia… is just a country conducting its business in a way different to yours and mine… and that really has nothing to do with us.” Russia, of course, has never restricted its trouble to the limits of its own borders. In fact its serial expansion of said borders by means of armed force has been one of the main troubles it has, and continues, to inflict on its neighbors in particular and the world in general. Incessant Russian troublemaking and expansionism are why it is necessary for other nations to concern themselves with Russia.

    You indicate you are not American. What is your nationality? From the general tenor of your comments, I’m guessing it’s some species of European, but It’s always nice to have a specific frame of reference. Europeans, after all, differ rather more from one another on the basis of the number of miles that separate them than is the case with Americans. Still more so, I should imagine, if I have guessed incorrectly and your are not European.

  • Edward

    Lee S wrote: “I’m not sure what it has to do with this article though.

    The scene is one of changing the attitude of the leaders as a way of changing the culture of those doing the tasks.

    As Lee S noted, Russia will soon lose its income from launching NASA astronauts. The $169 million stolen from the Vostochny project is about the amount that comes from launching two NASA astronauts. At 12% of the budget, what a tremendous waste of Russia’s precious resources. With corruption that expensive, Russia will have a difficult time competing with the rest of the world, and I suspect that is what worries Putin most.

    If the modern Russia cannot compete any better than the old Soviet Union could, their fates may be similar. Russia had a once proud space program, setting important firsts in space exploration. Now, their only pride is that they fly NASA’s astronauts while America cannot. That will cease being a source of pride any month, now. What will replace that service as a source of Russian pride?

    How will Russia’s attitude and culture have to change in order for their space program to become important again and a continuing source of national pride?

  • wayne

    Dick/Edward–
    Good stuff!

    Lee–
    “Enemy At The Gates”
    2001
    https://youtu.be/T8BJyYF3inc
    2:11:05

    In brief– “A Russian and a German sniper play a game of cat-and-mouse during the Battle of Stalingrad.”

  • wayne

    Enemy at the Gates
    issuing weapons scene
    https://youtu.be/KMjYNKED0U0
    1:21

    “One out of two gets a rifle, one without follows him.
    The one with the rifle shoot.
    When the one with the rifle gets killed—
    One who is following pick up the rifle and shoot.”

  • foxbat

    Only $169 million? Nothing compared with how much STS has stolen.

  • Lee S

    @ Dick…
    “Russia, of course, has never restricted its trouble to the limits of its own borders. In fact its serial expansion of said borders by means of armed force has been one of the main troubles it has, and continues, to inflict on its neighbors in particular and the world in general. Incessant Russian troublemaking and expansionism are why it is necessary for other nations to concern themselves with Russia.”
    It would behove you to check out the expansion of NATO and the encircling of Russia with NATO bases ( read US for NATO),
    Seriously…. Check it out… And imagine if a foreign alliance was doing the same to the US….
    The incursion into Georgia was troubling, but the annexation of Crimea was at the request of the Crimeans… To protect against the western installed government, who overthrew the democratically elected government.
    I know you, and most of the readers here don’t want to hear any opinion that doesn’t fit the right wing, Russia bad, USA good rhetoric, but research for yourself…
    And I am English, but a Swedish resident… And I got a vote whether Sweden should join NATO or not…. I and the vast majority of Swedes voted against.
    It’s easy to sit there and have an opinion, with a huge ocean between yourself and the landmass where this stuff actually matters, but I for one, ( along with millions more ), think it’s not a good idea to encroach even closer on a financialy poor, but military powerful nation.
    To say Russia is expansionist, and not even mention NATOs ever expanding influence is either ingenious or ignorent…
    Sorry, but a short duckduckgo search will reveal the truth of the matter…

  • Lee S

    I forgot to add
    “What is your nationality? From the general tenor of your comments, I’m guessing it’s some species of European”
    Yup… I’m one of those guys whose species founded your nation ;-)

  • Edward

    Lee S wrote: “It would behove you to check out the expansion of NATO and the encircling of Russia with NATO bases ( read US for NATO), Seriously…. Check it out… And imagine if a foreign alliance was doing the same to the US….

    We don’t have to imagine it. The Soviet Union sent nuke-tipped rockets to Cuba. How did the U.S. react? That’s right, by invading Cuba, ousting Fidel Castro, and turning Cuba back into the capitalist heaven that once drew rich New Yorkers via two-day voyages. Or is my history a little off?

    I got a vote whether Sweden should join NATO or not…. I and the vast majority of Swedes voted against.

    I guess Russia is not quite as surrounded as Lee S thinks it is.

    It’s easy to sit there and have an opinion, with a huge ocean between yourself and the landmass where this stuff actually matters, but I for one, ( along with millions more ), think it’s not a good idea to encroach even closer on a financialy poor, but military powerful nation.

    Does anyone remember why NATO was founded in the first place? Wasn’t it because a not-so-rich but militarily powerful nation had encroached on the eastern part of Europe?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO#History

    On 4 March 1947 the Treaty of Dunkirk was signed by France and the United Kingdom as a Treaty of Alliance and Mutual Assistance in the event of a possible attack by Germany or the Soviet Union in the aftermath of World War II. In 1948, this alliance was expanded to include the Benelux countries, in the form of the Western Union, also referred to as the Brussels Treaty Organization (BTO), established by the Treaty of Brussels. Talks for a new military alliance which could also include North America resulted in the signature of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949 by the member states of the Western Union plus the United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.

    It looks to me as though the Soviets frightened much of Europe, who talked Canada and the United States into helping defend them from an aggressive country founded on conquest (e.g. all those “-stans” that they had, among other less-than-willing nations, that formed the “Union” part of Soviet Union).

    Yup… I’m one of those guys whose species founded your nation ;-)

    Yup. Plymouth colony was founded as a socialist society, but when socialism was a complete failure, unable to produce enough to feed themselves (they didn’t have any other-people’s-money to sustain themselves), they changed species and became free market capitalists. This different species was so productive that they were able to invite the local Indians over for a three-day feast.

    This successful species is why the United States went, in only three centuries, from a literal backwoods village into a nation strong enough to save Europe — and the rest of the world — from tyranny. Twice. National heroes were made along the way. William Bradford, John Smith, George Washington, Daniel Boone, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Theodore Roosevelt, George Patton, are a few examples of those who were bold and different.

    That additional nations are eager to join NATO is hardly surprising, considering the number of aggressive countries that already do or that want to expand into other-people’s-territory.

    The Soviet Union, another example of Lee S’s species, was once able to impress the world with space firsts. However, once they ran out of other-people’s-money (e.g. the Czar’s jewels), they ran into trouble, not only in space but had to beg the United States for food.

    Come to think of it, just as with wayne’s first clip from the movie Enemy at the Gates, linked above, Russia does not need people sabotaging its space industry through bad management and demoralizing (corrupt) actions. What they need is modern heroes.

  • Dick Eagleson

    Lee S

    Your reading of history leaves out quite a bit of relevant detail and leans so far in the direction of giving the Soviet Union/Russia a pass for its decades of depredations and aggressions as to make it a wonder you don’t fall over sideways – to the left, of course.

    Let’s start with the history of post-WW2 Europe. In the wake of WW2, the Soviet Union attempted to hang onto pretty much every part of the former Nazi empire it had helped defeat on which it was then standing. That was especially true of Poland, which it had collaborated with the Nazis in conquering in the first place in 1939 – Stalin and Hitler were once “besties,” remember – and over half of which it had previously held between Sept. 1939 and June 1941. It was mostly successful. Only in a few places such as Greece and Iran, where the Soviet occupation was fairly minimal in size and of very recent provenance, did the Western powers succeed in forcing withdrawal of Soviet forces.

    It quickly became evident that Stalin had far from fulfilled his appetite for conquest. In 1948, he tried to force the Western Allies out of Berlin by closing all land communication with the Western sectors of Germany occupied by the U.S., Britain and France. The allies responded with the storied Berlin Airlift. The siege of West Berlin was lifted after nearly a year after which Stalin formally declared the Russian occupation zone of Germany to be the Germany Democratic Republic and installed a puppet regime.

    At this point, there wasn’t any doubt that Russian ambitions involved the eventual subjugation of the entirety of Western Europe. An earlier alliance among the U.S., Britain and France was elaborated into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization with the addition of the rest of the European countries that had been conquered by the Nazis and not “liberated” by the Soviets.

    When there’s a rabid dog on the loose one can either try killing it or penning it up. There was no political will in the West for a war against the Soviets so soon after WW2 – especially when the Soviets demonstrated possession of atomic weapons in 1949 – but there was consensus on penning it up. That was, and remains, the basis of NATO. The idea was to keep Soviet-involved drama, and now that promulgated by its Russian successor regime, out of Western Europe.

    Even in Greece and Iran, from which Stalin had reluctantly withdrawn his armies, the Soviets didn’t abandon imperial ambitions. The Soviets stoked a communist militia movement in Greece (EOKA) that fought what amounted to a civil war against the legitimate government for several years. In Iran, the Soviets had the services of their stooge Mossadegh until his ouster by the late Shah.

    In the nations the Soviets swallowed whole, there was no such reversal as in Greece and Iran.

    That isn’t to say there weren’t problems with the Soviet’s newly acquired Western imperial marches. Czechoslovakia, in particular, resisted imposition of a monopoly communist puppet government in the immediate post-WW2 period and managed to keep the legitimate regime in power until early 1948 when the communists in the government launched a coup that took about a month to consolidate. During this period, they also killed Jan Masaryk, the son of the country’s founder and a significant national figure in his own right, so as to prevent his becoming any sort of nucleus for an anti-Soviet political movement.

    The East Germans, not long after the death of Stalin in 1953, revolted against the GDR puppet regime of Walter Ulbricht and his Soviet master – exactly whom that was being still a matter of some uncertainty at the time as is generally the case with power transfers in dictatorships of all types. Ulbricht demonstrated why he had a portrait of Stalin on the wall of his office with a personal note and an autograph by putting down the revolt as ruthlessly as his idol would have.

    The Soviets took a direct hand in suppressing popular uprisings in Hungary in 1956 and in Czechoslovakia two decades after the original coup in 1968. Another such intervention was apparently in the works anent Poland in 1980-81 after the rise of the Solidarity movement but was not carried out because the Soviet military, in the wake of its incursion into Afghanistan two years previously, simply couldn’t marshal the logistic resources required for another Hungary or Czechoslovakia-style armored thunder run.

    Poland continued to simmer and bubble until the collapse of the Soviet’s Eastern European empire in late 1989 took the option of military action entirely off the table as an independent Ukraine now stood between Poland and a diminished Soviet rump centered on Russia.

    The almost comical eagerness with which newly-freed Eastern European nations clamored to join NATO in the wake of the Soviet collapse, then, was hardly a nefarious plot by an imperial U.S. seeking to extend its hegemony, but an extremely rational choice on the part of nations and peoples who had seen, up close and personal, what Soviet rule had been like and had no wish to experience it again under the revived tricolor of a Russia they were convinced would start to experience its immemorial land hunger once again after absorbing its reverses of 1989-91.

    The Eastern Europeans have proven to be quite correct in their assessment. The U.S., for its part, had been reluctant to open prompt NATO membership to every former Soviet satrapy that came calling. The post-Soviet regimes of Ukraine and Georgia, in particular, looked very dodgy and so they proved to be. It’s also no accident that those two nations have been the conspicuous targets of Russia’s latest land-grabs. In the wake of these incursions, the political cultures of both places seem to have improved markedly from the sort of opportunistic kleptocratic strongman-ism that characterized the immediate post-Soviet period – and which is still the regnant political culture in the various Central Asian “Stans” that also achieved sovereign status in the wake of the Soviet crack-up.

    If the current Russian regime feels “surrounded” by NATO, well, thieves usually do feel put out when would-be victims hire bodyguards. What can I say?

    There was also, contra you, no “coup” in Ukraine, just the removal from power, by constitutional means, of a former President who was attempting his own pro-Russian coup and who, once ousted, fled to Moscow.

    As for voting against NATO membership in Sweden, I have been unable to find any record of a national plebiscite on this particular issue ever having been put forward. Did you mean by that that you voted for the candidate of one of Sweden’s several anti-NATO, anti-American left-wing parties in the last national election? If so, how is it that you are able to do so? Are you now a naturalized Swede? Or does Sweden allow foreign-born permanent residents to vote in its elections?

    Whatever Sweden’s formal position on NATO is, in practice Sweden is at least as much a NATO member, de facto, as is Germany, de jure. Its armed forces participate in NATO war games and its equipment is largely interoperable with that of the formal NATO members. As has Germany, Sweden even sent troops to the NATO intervention in Afghanistan. I have no detailed information as to just what the Swedes have done there, but it would seem they would have a very difficult time being more useless than the Germans were. The Germans operated, if that’s the word, under such restrictive rules of engagement that I have, in the past, characterized the Bundeswehr’s time there as being more like adventure tourism than combat operations. The great martial figures of Germany’s storied military past must be turning in their graves and churning in their urns.

    There is no question that Sweden still faces a threat from Russia, though Russia’s continuing penury has likely diminished that threat to some extent. Back in 2013-14, before the collapse of petroleum and gas prices that precipitated Russia’s recent economic hard times – when Russia was “feeling its oats,” as the old saying goes – Russian submarines were nosing aggressively around Stockholm and the Russian air force was sending Backfire bombers on simulated nuclear strikes over Swedish territory.

    The latter incident had Sweden calling on NATO for air assets as its own were apparently either not appropriately positioned or perhaps even in operation. I know that the air force of another famously neutral European country whose name also starts with ‘S’ famously shuts down at 5:00 PM. Perhaps Sweden was doing likewise in 2013. One hopes that is not still the case.

  • wayne

    Dick–
    Great, stuff!
    You write extremely well– a pleasure to read.

    speaking of Berlin….

    “Right Here, Right Now”
    November 9, 1989
    Jesus Jones
    https://youtu.be/GYPBt4fZOUI
    3:17

    “A woman on the radio talked about revolution,
    When its already passed her by.
    Bob Dylan didn’t have this to sing about you,
    You know it feels good to be alive.”

  • wayne

    Katyn Massacre
    Artur Rehi
    https://youtu.be/ZSyZHyks_Gw
    12:31

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