Tales of cosmic scale
The Head of the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities casts prudence to the winds. Not only does Rogozin promise to fly to Mars – but credits the state corporation with nonexistent flights in front of the President. If necessary, he would ‘draw’ any document. The space taleteller has mastered this art since the student years.
Asking for money
Dmitry Rogozin, the main taleteller of the Russian politics, has finally found a sympathetic listener – the King of Bahrain. A few days ago, the Head of Roscosmos had a meeting with him. The King shows royal hospitality, gladly listens about flights to Mars scheduled to the 2030s, and – unlike Prime Minister Medvedev – never asks inconvenient questions. The Head of the Government has recently called the Head of Roscosmos “a daydreamer” for his plans to fly to Mars. NASA has already sent its Voyager beyond the Solar system; in comparison with it, the intentions of Rogozin seem pretty humble – fly to Mars in 10 years. But Medvedev was adamant on that day.
Dmitry Rogozin meets with the King of Bahrain
The Head of the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities had just asked for another portion of money for Vostochny (Eastern) Cosmodrome – and the Prime Ministers started asking him about completion dates. Why are the reporting procedures so strict? 515 billion rubles ($7.8 billion) have been allocated for the entire space industry – while this amount may be not sufficient even for Vostochny Cosmodrome. The launch pad for Angara rockets alone is estimated at 38.7 billion rubles ($584.4 million) – and this is not the final cost. Tatarstan-based Kazan Production and Construction Association – the builder of Samara Arena stadium – has been retained to construct it without a tender.
Vostochny Cosmodrome is marred by criminal cases and shortages of funds
Now Roscosmos is trying to terminate its contract with Kazan Production and Construction Association because of its financial problems. But nobody cares that its workers may accidentally fill with concrete the sewer system (as it was during the stadium construction) or a rocket pit. Unlaunched rockets may not fall – and this is beneficial for Roscosmos. Even Rogozin may not ask for money after major failures. But he found a solution.
After the conversation with the Prime Minister, Rogozin had a meeting with Vladimir Putin – as usual, with the hat in hand. No one likes bad news – so, the Head of Roscosmos was speaking only about good things, including rocket launches. “We had 22 launches in 2019,” – he said. Many people could not believe their ears and started counting the launches themselves. In total, there were 17 ones, including 8 launches performed by the Ministry of Defense. Roscosmos has performed 9 launches, including an unsuccessful one. Even unpleasant statistics may be significantly improved by altering a few figures.
Rogozin has mastered this art at a young age. At that time, his skills were not appreciated – the future conqueror of Mars was nearly prosecuted for forgery of documents. It is unknown what papers had he forged – but the ‘drawings’ of Rogozin were in high demand, and the police had searched for their author. However, colleagues saved him from jail – Rogozin was employed with the Russian–American University–Corporation. The labor collective bailed out the former Komsomol activist.
Aleksei Podberezkin, ex-Chairman of the Committee for Clear and Fair Elections, was the President of the University–Corporation in that period. It is not 100% clear what had Podberezkin guaranteed in the 1990s – either that Rogozin stops his ‘artistic exercises’ or won’t be caught again. Since then, no one can undertake for Rogozin. Having a humanitarian education, he has thoroughly studied mathematical tricks with decimal and slash signs. Rogozin believes that the reliability of Russian rockets has reached 99%. All failures are after the decimal sign – as well as the Russian cosmonautics.
To increase the reliability beyond 100%, Rogozin announced a unique engine for Soyuz-5 rocket. He has remembered about that engine after the meeting with the President and provided a photo of its assemblage for greater credibility. The name of the engine is supposed to prepare the president to the testing phase. Rogozin personally named the technological wonder "Tsar Engine". As is well-known, Tsar Cannon had never fired, while Tsar Bell never rung... The main feature of a true mastery is consistency.
Первый двигатель РД-171МВ для новейшей ракеты среднего класса Союз-5 "Иртыш" собран на подмосковном "НПО Энергомаш" и готовится к огневым испытаниям. По мощности ему нет равных в мире pic.twitter.com/YN5KrBn0iy— Дмитрий Рогозин (@Rogozin) 8 февраля 2019 г.
However, Rogozin is open to innovations as well. Surprisingly for everybody, the Head of Roscosmos decided to tighten the belts. This has effectively strangled the Spektr-UV (World Space Observatory-Ultraviolet, an analog of Hubble Space Telescope) project. This year, Roscosmos is going to reduce its funding by 3 times and in the next year – by 10 times. The project has already fulfilled its purpose – and the Fourth Administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation handling crimes committed at restricted access facilities is investigating the embezzlement of more than 28 million rubles ($422.8 thousand) from Lavochkin Aerospace Company in the course of its implementation. The General Director of Lavochkin Scientific Production Association is charged with the theft of 330 million rubles ($5 million).
Sergei Lemeshevsky, ex-General Director of Lavochkin Aerospace Company
Scandals, intrigues, and inquests
Rogozin has loaded a lot of work on the Fourth MIA Administration. Recently, the operatives have visited Tekhnomash Scientific Production Association – the flagship enterprise of Roscosmos – and uncovered embezzlements preliminary estimated at 410.2 million rubles ($6.2 million). The fraud scheme used at Tekhnomash was amazingly blatant. The scientific production association had awarded multimillion reconstruction contracts to some Moskapstroy Limited Liability Company. But the contractor was not the renown capital construction holding – but a ‘twin company’ of the same name. Moskapstroy received the above-mentioned 410.2 million rubles ($6.2 million) under fake guarantees provided by Genbank. Currently, Genbank is undergoing the resolution procedure.
As a result of these machinations, operations of the Perm Gunpowder Mill Federal Budgetary Enterprise may be paralyzed. Moskapstroy was supposed to reconstruct for the Perm Gunpowder Mill a composite propellant production line. The enterprise had relied on the contractor and even made a settlement with it – but in vain. Interestingly, there are no suspects in the criminal case instituted under part 4 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (swindling on an especially large scale). The names of the heads of Tekhnomash and Moskapstroy are known to everybody – but the crime was committed by some “unidentified managers”.
Perhaps, the operatives don’t want to insult Rogozin – the best specialist in scandals, intrigues, and inquests? Last summer, Rogozin has appointed Vladimir Vlasyuk in charge of Tekhnomash. In the past, Vlasyuk was the Head of Izumrud (Emerald) Defense Enterprise. Prior to his arrival, it had flourished. Reportedly, Vlasyuk can masterfully manipulate with figures – just as well as well as Rogozin does.
But Rogozin juggles not only with numbers – but with facts as well. He complains about an information war waged against him – but does not specify by whom. Otherwise, he would have to accuse, for instance, the Head of the Audit Chamber of the Russian Federation. Its auditors found out that, out of all violations identified by them, a half (totaling 760 billion rubles ($11.5 billion)) have been committed in structures subordinate to Roscosmos. The Aide to the President is throwing oil on the fire hinting that the state corporation is unprofitable. In fact, Rogozin has to do his job surrounded by ill-wishers. According to his own words, the Head of Roscosmos is literally “burning out” at work.
But the President does not believe the evil tongues. Recently, he has allocated 300 billion rubles ($4.5 billion) on Sfera (Sphere) Satellite System. In exchange for that sum, Rogozin promises to put 600 satellites into orbit and create for us a “sovereign Internet”. The freedom of the Internet does not raise any concerns yet – while the fate of the 300 billion rubles ($4.5 billion) already does. Especially taking that Rogozin has recently announced a new project – Gosudarevo Oko (Sovereign’s Eye) Satellite System. Its cost still remains unknown.
This information noise successfully blankets such bad news as the transfer of the case pertaining to the embezzlement of 10 billion rubles ($151 million) at Vostochny Cosmodrome to the court and suicide of Dmitry Savin, ex-Head of Dal’spetsstroy. After all, it is always good to have many satellites in orbit. Some of them will drown or burn up in the atmosphere. The Head of Roscosmos must not “burn out” at work alone.