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Putin: Criminal cases failed to stem theft at Vostochny spaceport construction site

Putin demanded that "effective control over procurement purchases" should be established in the defense industry

MOSCOW, November 11. /TASS/. Dozens of criminal cases and jailings have failed to stem theft at the Vostochny spaceport construction site, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a government meeting on Monday.

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 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 said he hoped that as far as diversifying production in the defense industry was concerned, "everything will be arranged properly."

"I will ask the prosecutor’s office and investigative agencies, as well as the presidential controlling department, to watch this closely," Putin said.

The Russian leader demanded that "effective control over procurement purchases" should be established in the defense industry.

The Vostochny spaceport in the Amur Region in the Russian Far East is the first national civilian space center. Large-scale construction work to build the spaceport’s infrastructure and technical facilities started in 2012.

The Vostochny spaceport’s construction was accompanied by numerous problems. According to the data of the Prosecutor General’s Office, a total of 17,000 various violations were exposed during the construction of the Vostochny Cosmodrome in 2014-2018 and 140 criminal cases were opened while total damage was estimated at 10 billion rubles ($150 million). Dozens of individuals were convicted under various counts of Russia’s Criminal Code, including former head of Dalspetsstroi (the general contractor for the spaceport’s construction in 2009-2016) Yuri Khrizman.