The Kremlin has launched a crackdown more than spaceport project that was allowed to be the jewel of Russia’s space programme but became mired in corruption costing more than $170m (£132m), by working with investigations alleging blatant burglary and illegal enrichment for officials and contractors.
As state detectives have opened new fraud cases, the project even offers become the target of Russia’s opposition, with the corruption whistleblower Alexei Navalny releasing an investigation into land and auto acquired by the head with Roscosmos, Russia’s space plenipotentiary power.
“A been unsuccessful project that is still at this time being built years after all its deadline with a budget that’s doubled and during which gigantic amounts of rubles had stolen: of course it should stand the name of Vladimir Putin , ” Navalny said in reference to the possibility that our own spaceport could be named after some Russian president.
Putin announced the construction from your Vostochny cosmodrome in the far east of St. petersburg in 2010. It was eventually aimed at reducing dependence on Kazakhstan’s Baikonur cosmodrome, which has located space launches since the 1954s under the Soviet Union, as well as September, Putin called your idea the “most important framework project of national significance”.
In information last week, Putin criticised all of the £3. 6bn project, using public frustration against the graft that is said to have use rampant under his appointees, sending the project excessively budget and years at home schedule.
“It was said 100 intervals: do this transparently, there will not be any more money, some of the project nearly has a nation wide character. But no, these are definately still stealing hundreds of millions, vast sums, ” Putin said.
The problems raised are usually typical for Russian mega-projects including bridges, roads moreover international events such as the Olympics, which have gone over budget and as well as faced accusations of graft on a massive scale.
Putin’s public episode of panic has been met with a flurry of activity by my own, who have announced that 58 representatives involved in the project have been sentenced for fraud, including the purchase of sub-standard concrete in which it resulted in expensive repairs for an launchpad.
Cosmodrome employees watch the launch of a Russian rocket at Vostochny cosmodrome in 2016. Photograph: Alexander Kovalev/AP
Fresh cases were announced this week, one involving allegations of a company falsifying rental costs for building equipment, resulting in a £3m loss.
Putin’s proximity to the project has also made it a target for the opposition, as Navalny directed criticism towards a senior space official appointed by Putin in 2018.
Using official declarations, Navalny identified plots of land in a suburb of Moscow acquired by Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, which lie adjacent to large plots owned by members of his extended family and former aides. The land was worth far more than Rogozin’s salary as a veteran public official could explain, Navalny claimed.
Rogozin, a former cabinet member who oversaw Russia’s military-industrial complex and space programme, has been a lightning rod for criticism for his oversight of the project. He claimed last week he was happy that the Kremlin was getting involved and that those accused of corruption had been removed from the project by authorities.
The cosmodrome hosted its first launch in 2016, but the construction of launchpads intended for Russia’s new generation of Angara rockets are years behind schedule.
Allegations of corruption and mismanagement at the cosmodrome began several years ago. In 2015, workers went on hunger strike after complaining they were not being paid.