Another Construction Boss Sacked at Russia's Mega Cosmodrome

Mar. 20 2015 — 13:45
President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin listen to Oleg Ostapenko (L), head of the Russian Federal Space Agency, or Roscosmos, as they visit the construction site at Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Amursk Region.

The head of construction at Russia's 150 billion ruble ($2.5 billion) Vostochny Cosmodrome project has been removed from his post amid corruption scandals and missed deadlines, the Kommersant newspaper reported.

The firing on Friday is the second scalping of a spaceport construction boss in less than a year, and comes days after Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin's visit to the cosmodrome, in Russia's Far East.

Rogozin, who now oversees the project personally, threatened two weeks ago to rip the heads off any contractors who interfere with the cosmodrome being completed by Nov. 30 — in time for a first launch in December. Construction schedules have already been pushed back due to slow work at the site.

Dmitry Savin, the head of Dalspetsstroi, the main contractor working on Vostochny, signed his resignation after a meeting chaired by Rogozin at the cosmodrome on Tuesday, Kommersant reported citing an unidentified source close to the spaceport's construction headquarters.

In October, former Dalspetsstroi chief Yury Khrizman was arrested in a 1.8 billion ruble ($30 million) embezzlement probe conducted by Russia's Investigative Committee and Federal Security Service.

Less than a month later, a Dalspetsstroi accountant and a chief engineer from another construction firm were implicated in the probe.

Kommersant said Savin's removal was not related to the embezzlement investigation, and that he will continue to work as the firm's deputy director.

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