Half-life period. Relatives of supreme Russian missileman squander national nuclear shield
Soviet poet Yuri Vizbor once brought our missiles into line with the ballet. Today, nuclear weapons are in the highlight again – and Boris Obnosov, General Director of Tactical Missiles Corporation, gives numerous interviews like a ballet star. New questions to the official arise with each day because Doctor of Engineering Science Obnosov found a way to turn nuclear power into gold, real estate, and money.
Airshow China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition ended last week. After the recent catastrophe of a Soyuz-FG launch vehicle, it was unwise to present space innovations there – so, products developed by Tactical Missiles Corporation (TMC) Joint Stock Company have been sent to the expo. Prior to the trip to China, its General Director Boris Obnosov gave a standard interview about corporate achievements, including tests of hypersonic weapons, other perspective developments, and revenues growing with each year. The corporation plans to earn 180 billion rubles ($2.6 billion) in 2018.
Speaking of the money, Obnosov complained about the Law on Defense Order requiring to keep a separate accounting ledger for each contract, which suppresses the flight of engineering thinking. In a fit of temper, Boris Obnosov has even named this money ‘painted’ – i.e. marked. According to Obnosov, this term is frequently used in the corporation nowadays. The vocabulary of rocket builders and concerns of the Doctor of Engineering Science are not coincidental.
Boris Obnosov, General Director of Tactical Missiles Corporation Joint Stock Company
In February 2018, Viktor Vagan, ex-deputy of Obnosov, was tried for swindling on an especially large scale (part 4 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and thefts of munitions and explosives. Vagan disliked accounting and ‘painted’ money – but liked hard cash. Jointly with Yakovlev, Director of Turaevo Machine-Building Design Bureau “SOYUZ” (a division of TMC), and Niyazov, Director of State Budgetary Research and Testing Polygon for Aviation Systems, the Deputy General Director of TMC decided to sell allegedly scrapped engines for Kh-55 medium-range cruise missiles. Ukrainian engineering company Motor Sich was the buyer. The enterprising rocket builders earned more than 67 million rubles ($986.5 thousand) on that deal – the funds bypassed the accounting books but have been recorded in the case file.
Boris Obnosov and Dmitry Medvedev
Boris Obnosov does not like to remember that episode for a reason. Missile engines produced by TMC had already attracted the attention of the law enforcement authorities in the past. In 2012, the Federal Service for Defense Contracts has carried out an audit in the Southern Federal District and found 264 counterfeit DPR-42-N1-02 electric motors and 66 GU-503 hydroelectric units on Azov Optical Mechanics Plant. The above abbreviations pertain to missile and bomb homing guidance systems. The counterfeit details had been shipped to the Azov plant by Zvezda–Strela (Star–Arrow) Trade House whose Deputy Director was later convicted. The company hasn't even compensated damages in the amount of 11.6 million rubles ($170.8 thousand) to Azov Optical Mechanics Plant.
Dmitry Rogozin and Boris Obnosov
The reaction of Tactical Missiles Corporation and its General Director to that incident was pretty interesting. Being an opponent of strict reporting procedures, Obnosov put on a semblance that nothing wrong has happened. The subordinates followed his example. Then the Doctor of Engineering Science taught his colleagues a lesson of mutual supportiveness: Zvezda–Strela Trade House remained the favorite contractor of the corporation and continued receiving new contracts on a regular basis. After all, the company belongs to his child...
Zvezda–Strela Trade House, that has been renamed into TRV Engineering a year ago, has three owners: TMC, Vladimir Maslensky, and Olga Zorikova. Who are these mysterious people providing supplies for the entire national rocket building industry? Similarly with the ‘painted’ money, this question is inconvenient for Boris Obnosov. Therefore, these owners are concealed behind a chain of companies. Zorikova and Maslensky control in equal shares (50% each) Teploservis Limited Liability Company belonging 40% to Zvezda–Strela incorporated in Taganrog. TMC controls 49% of Zvezda–Strela shares, Olga Zorikova controls 40% of its shares, and the remaining 11% of shares belong to Maslensky via Alliance company. This constellation of shareholders owns TRV Engineering – a company whose sins are always forgiven.
According to Novaya Gazeta newspaper, Olga Zorikova is a daughter of the General Director of Tactical Missiles Corporation. She is under 30, but father’s heritage is already strong in her. For eight years already, this frail girl has been shouldering the nuclear shield of the country. Boris Obnosov has personally put this burden on his daughter by appointing TRV Engineering a plenipotentiary organization making all acquisitions on behalf of TMC. Not a single plant subordinate to Tactical Missiles Corporation can operate without the company belonging to Zorikova: TRV Engineering reconstructs factories, supplies raw materials, and even insures pensions of corporate employees.
The uninterrupted financial flow is boosted by shares in enterprises producing missile components. Take, for instance, Taganrog Foundry launched in the Rostov region in 2015. Boris Obnosov has personally attended its opening and assured the audience that “Russia never had such an enterprise”. In strict adherence to the principle “children and youth first”, Zvezda–Strela Limited Liability Company has got 26% of foundry’s shares.
Being a caring parent, Boris Obnosov has initially tested the innovative business scheme on himself. In 2009–2014, he had owned a share in Research and Development Center of Automatic Engineering Systems via Cyprus-based Licitare Limited offshore company. His partners in Licitare Limited were Yaroslav Karpov, ex-Director of Research and Development Center of Automatic Engineering Systems, and Vladimir Sorokin, General Director of Machine-Building Design Bureau ISKRA.
Farewell to arms
Thanks to the paternalism of Obnosov, the portfolio of contracts awarded to TRV Engineering amounts to 5.9 billion rubles ($86.9 million). Taganrog-based Zvezda–Strela has earned another billion rubles ($14.7 million). Taking the shares in both companies belonging to Olga Zorikova (20% and 40% respectively) and revenues generated by Taganrog Foundry where she controls some 10%, the young lady has earned over 1.8 billion rubles ($26.5 million). The girl hasn’t got tired safeguarding the national defense. While TRV Engineering was earning billions of rubles, its owner has been making a name in the wedding industry. While Azov Optical Mechanics Plant was equipping missiles with counterfeit engines, Olga Zorikova was decorating participants of the Kolomna Parade of Brides. Today, brides with hairdos designed by Zorikova adorn covers of Wedding Magazine.
Reference to Olga Zorikova in Wedding Magazine
However, the episode with counterfeit engines has taught the Obnosov family some important things. Taganrog-based Zvezda–Strela started actively expanding to civil businesses, including construction. Being self-critical persons, Zorikova and Maslensky decided that not many people can duly appreciate their buildings; therefore Zvezda–Strela has been selling its low-rise housing mostly to the government as residences for orphaned children.
By that time, the daughter of Boris Obnosov has married. Her husband Rostislav Zorikov has joined not only her family – but their family business as well. In 2015, Zvezda–Strela started building a grain storage silo. A year later, it was sold to Agroprime company controlled 25% by Rostislav Zorikov. Other 25% of shares in Agroprime belonged to Ivan Sadchikov, son-in-law of Sergei Prikhodko, First Deputy Chief of the Government Staff of the Russian Federation. Known for his yacht voyages, Prikhodko was involved in the past with the rocket building industry as a member of the Board of Directors of Tactical Missiles Corporation. Since then, the families of Prikhodko and Obnosov have been maintaining friendly ties.
The grain stored in the silo goes for export. The exporter is Zhiva company; two years ago, above-mentioned Sadchikov and Zorikov had owned in it 25% of shares each. Then they have withdrawn from the list of shareholders – and Vladimir Maslensky and Vladimir Sorokin, General Director of Machine-Building Design Bureau ISKRA, replaced them. The arrival of experienced managers boosted the grain business. Maslensky and Sorokin purchased Marine Grain Terminal company and signed an agreement with Rosmorport Federal State Unitary Enterprise to build a loading terminal in the Taganrog Sea Port. Upon completion, the terminal will become a private property of the Obnosov family.
Sadchikov’s home in Megève
Sadchikov’s home in Latvia
Sons-in-law of Obnosov and Prikhodko turned out to be unfit for big business. They prefer spending time close to nature. For instance, Ivan Sadchikov owns, via a Cypriot offshore company, a comfortable chalet in the French town of Megève, which is not far from the Swiss Alps. When Sadchikov feels homesickness, he comes to the Latvian township of Amatciems. The cheapest property in Amatciems currently costs €265 thousand. It is ideal for wealthy downshifters: rural scenery, clean forest, and fishy lakes. Rostislav Zorikov is hiding his real estate more effectively – but no doubt, he is fine as well. Nuclear weapons may send people to paradise – at least those, involved in their production.