Russian space sector plagued by astronomical corruption

Analysts say Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin, a former deputy prime minister known for his anti-Western statements, is struggling
Analysts say Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin, a former deputy prime minister known for his anti-Western statements, is struggling to deal with the industry's problems

With millions of dollars missing and officials in prison or fleeing the country, Russia's space sector is at the heart of a staggering embezzlement scheme that has dampened ambitions of recovering its Soviet-era greatness.

For years, Moscow has tried to fix the industry that was a source of immense pride in the USSR. While it has bounced back from its post-Soviet collapse and once again become a major world player, the Russian space sector has recently suffered a series of humiliating failures.

And now, massive corruption scandals at state space agency Roscosmos have eclipsed its plans to launch new rockets and lunar stations.

"Billions (of rubles) are being stolen there, billions," Alexander Bastrykin, the powerful head of Russia's Investigative Committee—Russia's equivalent of the FBI—said in mid-May.

Investigations into corruption at Roscosmos have been ongoing "for around five years and there is no end in sight," he added.

In the latest controversy, a senior space official appears to have fled Russia during an audit of the research centre he headed.

Yury Yaskin, the director of the Research Institute of Space Instrumentation, left Russia for a European country in April where he announced his resignation, the Kommersant paper reported.

He feared the discovery of malpractice during an inspection of the institute, according to the newspaper's sources.

Roscosmos confirmed to AFP that Yaskin had resigned but did not clarify why. His Moscow institute is involved in developing the Russian satellite navigation system GLONASS designed to compete with the American GPS system.

Stopping corruption 'primary goal'

Corruption has particularly affected Russia's two most important space projects of the decade: GLONASS and the construction of the country's showpiece cosmodrome Vostochny, built to relieve Moscow's dependence on Baikonur in ex-Soviet Kazakhstan.

Almost all major companies in the sector, including rocket builders Khrunichev and Progress, have been hit by financial scandals that have sometimes led to prison sentences for large-scale fraud.

Russia's Audit Chamber, a parliamentary body of financial control, said financial violations at Roscosmos in 2017 stood at 760 billion rubles (around $11.7 billion), accounting for nearly 40 percent of the total irregularities in the entire economy that year.

Roscosmos told AFP that "eradicating corruption" is one of its "primary goals", adding that it regularly cooperates with investigations by the authorities.

In mid-April, President Vladimir Putin stressed the need to "progressively resolve the obvious problems that slow down the development of the rocket-space sector."

"The time and financial frameworks to realise space projects are often unjustified," the Russian leader said.

More money, more corruption

Rebooting the space sector is a matter of prestige for the Kremlin. It symbolises its renewed pride and ability to be a major global power, especially in the context of increased tensions with the United States.

Almost destroyed in the 1990s, the sector stayed afloat thanks to foreign commercial contracts.

But independent space expert Vitaly Yegorov told AFP there were still "executives of a very high professional level" at that time and fewer accidents during launches.

The first module of the International Space Station (ISS), Zarya, was manufactured in Russia and launched in 1998 despite a major financial crisis at the time.

Paradoxically, the situation deteriorated in the early 2000s, when the Russian economy was growing. The influx of public funds fuelled fraud, and space research stopped advancing, experts say.

"Today, the space sector works like this: give us money and we will launch something—one day," Yegorov said.

Only the ISS continues to be "an unshakeable ivory tower", he said, since it plays a "political role" aimed at maintaining international cooperation.

Analysts say Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin, a former deputy prime minister known for his anti-Western statements, is struggling to deal with the industry's problems.

Russia's scientific community has criticised Rogozin, who is a journalism graduate, for his lack of knowledge of the space sector.

"He probably would have made an excellent spokesman for Roscosmos," joked Yegorov, adding: "Even Superman could not handle this avalanche of problems."


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May 28, 2019
"760 billion rubles" is actually more like 11.3 billion US dollars, not millions as stated in the article. Actual currency exshange rate (as per Google) is 64,55 Russian Roubles to 1 US Dollar.

May 28, 2019
"Rogozin ... is a journalism graduate".

And Putin is a spy graduate.

Oy.

May 28, 2019
Now there's a big surprise. Russia is the 115th least corrupt country on Earth. (That means there are only 40 or so of them that are more corrupt.) Corruption is thought to represent anywhere between 25% and 50% of their economy.

https://en.wikipe...n_Russia

A well sourced Wikipedia page. Check for yourself.

May 28, 2019
Now there's a big surprise. Russia is the 115th least corrupt country on Earth. (That means there are only 40 or so of them that are more corrupt.) Corruption is thought to represent anywhere between 25% and 50% of their economy.

https://en.wikipe...n_Russia

A well sourced Wikipedia page. Check for yourself.
Wikipedia has confusingly worded the Transparency International site content. Russia is the 115th least   t r a n s p a r e n t   country. It is ranked as the 46th most corrupt. Mr. Putin is also the proud father of an ominous collapse in the ranking of Russian universities. At one point they had at least   o n e   university in the world's top 200, at a pathetic 175th ranked. At my last look even that is gone. I think they have one in the 500 group. In contrast the U.S. has 7... in the top   t e n .

May 28, 2019
About what you would expect from a country run by the Russian mafia. Putin as capo. Or don. How do you say that in Russian?

May 28, 2019
well, i say it is pimp putin or fuhrer putin.
sure a lot of snouts in that trough.
nimble scapegoats fleeing.
admin lackeys going to jail.
Like Kremlin. like White House.

You want to find most of the missing funds?
check putin's pockets! Whatever is left after all the bogus loans to the NRA, the GOP & the strumpet's crime family.
{RICO! RICO! RICO!}

Now we can see what to expect with trunpenella's crocodile tears insisting on creating a Space Force of Camel-Borne Infantry.

Sure they can't fly. Not across a puddle or into space.
But they will have gorgeous uniforms & shiny boots.
Goose-stepping so pretty before the Bogus POTUS review stand.

What?
How do you think the saudi fascists are paying for all the advanced weaponry we are selling them?
By shipping us camels trained to goose-step in unison!

After the parade the USSFCIF will all be shipped off to the Southern Border as cheap labor for suborned GOP contractors to build the hideously expensive useless 2,000 mile curb.

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