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Ukraine’s rocket industry workers seek better fortune in Russia, MP says

April 05, 2017, 14:21 UTC+3 KIEV

Ukraine’s space industry plunged into crisis after the 2014 coup

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© Marina Lystseva/TASS

KIEV, April 5. /TASS/. Ukraine’s largest space rocket plant - Yuzhmash - is losing personnel as wage arrears snowball and its top specialists seek a better fortune in Russia, a member of the Ukrainian parliament from the presidential Pyotr Poroshenko Bloc, Vadim Krivenko, told the Verkhovna Rada on Wednesday.

"We heard the prime minister promise here the wage debt problem at Yuzhmash will be addressed. Nearly 7,000 are employed there. In fact, they work one day a week," Krivenko said. "We do pay compensations to coal producers, but we don’t do the same in relation to our rocket and missile specialists."

"People are leaving and it is common knowledge where our best specialists prefer to go," he said, adding that Russia offered an opportunity to highly-skilled personnel to get jobs in keeping with their training and knowledge.

Ukrainian space missile industry

After the breakup of the Soviet Union Ukraine inherited a third of the industrial and research potential massed up over the decades of Soviet space programs. Ukraine’s National Space Agency incorporated more than 40 design bureaus, factories, military units and organizations that worked for the space industry. Ukraine has to its credit several space rocket systems of its own design that are produced domestically, such as Tsiklon-2, Tsiklon-3, Zenit-2, Zenit-3SL and Dnepr.

The Makarov industrial association Southern Machine-Building Plant (Yuzhmash) is Ukraine’s major manufacturer of space technologies and other research-intense products, which was built in Dnepropetrovsk back in the Soviet era.

Ukraine’s space industry plunged into crisis after the government coup of 2014. Yuzhmash lost many of its contracts as the country’s new authorities severed many international ties, in the first place, those with Russia. Problems emerged with Ukraine’s participation in the international space programs Sea Launch and Surface Launch. An exodus of skilled personnel followed. In the autumn of 2016 the plant shifted to one-day working week. Wage arrears keep growing.

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