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In a statement today in the Russian press Vladimir Putin proposed initiating a criminal investigation into the management of the new Vostochny spaceport.
[Putin] admitted that “although the project is in the focus of our special attention, problems abound. … I will have to hand over some issues to law enforcement agencies to get them sorted out and clarified,” Putin said. Funding is provided regularly but the funding procedure itself needs special attention, he said, referring to “quasi and semi-criminal schemes”.
It appears that funds have not been used as efficiently as he likes and his solution is to threaten prosecution of those involved. This is becoming a standard Putin technique. He used it to guarantee his control over the Russian aerospace company Energia, and now he is using it here to guarantee the Vostochny project moves forward fast and efficiently.
Its use also illustrates the limitations of Russia’s top down approach to everything. Such threats can prevent corruption in a specific project, but that such treats are necessary so frequently points out how easily such corruption grows in a government-run centralized bureaucracy. We see it here in the U.S. as well. Take away the profit motive and private ownership and there remains nothing to naturally focus the efforts of management towards success and efficiency.