Putin Angered by Continued Corruption at Vostochny Cosmodrome

Russian President Vladimir Putin tours Vostochny Cosmodrome in September 2019. (Crredit: Roscosmos)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose net worth is reportedly to be as high as $200 billion, is shocked — repeat, shocked — by the scale of the embezzlement during construction of the $1.4 billion Vostochny spaceport. Tass reports

A total of 11 billion rubles (about $169 million) were stolen during the construction of the Vostochny spaceport in the Russian Far East and only 3.5 billion rubles ($53.8 million) were returned to the state coffers, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday….

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 Russian leader spoke about the need to ensure strict, purposeful and transparent spending of budget funds in the defense sphere and noted that he had numerously made similar demands in other areas, including the construction of Russia’s first civilian spaceport in the Far East.

“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 already 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.

Putin can’t really be that shocked by this situation. For 20 years, he has presided over a country where corruption runs rampant. Putin has diverted billions from the state for the benefit of himself and his allies.

One wonders whether Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin’s job is on the line. The former deputy prime minister took over as head of the Russian space corporation in May 2018.

While serving as deputy prime minister, Rogozin had overseen Russia’s space and military agencies. During that period, corruption on the Vostochny spaceport was rampant and the nation suffered a long string of launch failures.