Putin’s failed blitzkrieg. Corruption and arson at a secret military compound

  • Corruption reigns both in the Russian military and in the local military-industrial complex
  • The widely ridiculed Orlan-10 drones cost up to 100 thousand. hole. The money was embezzled
  • Irregularities continued in 2017, meanwhile a secret research institute burned down
  • Pervasive corruption and the resulting delay have left Putin’s plan for a blitzkrieg crushed
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“What is it, you are kidding us” – this is how Western experts reacted to the photos of the Russian drone Orlan, which was intercepted by Ukrainian soldiers. The photos and videos released by the Ukrainians show that a bottle of mineral water was used to develop the drone’s fuel system, and the photos and videos are taken by a Canon camera fixed with tape and glue. Meanwhile, Orlan-10 drones are planned in the Russian budget of 100 thousand. hole.

Orlan-10Orłan-10 – Alexey Malgavko / Sputnik / Sputnik via AFP / AFP

Corruption can be the cause of high costs. Last year, a fraud related to the delivery of components for Orłan-10 drones came to light. The Kazan District Court seized a suitcase containing 48.6 million rubles, which was confiscated by officers of the Federal Security Service during a search by the head of a company working on the project of the industrial complex and Orlan-10 defense. Andrei Polshkov, 51, deputy financial director of technology company STD-Radix, was arrested in Kazan for an alleged bribe. He was accused of dealing with Paweł Szackich, director of the Elektropribor production plants in Kazan, and of embezzling 446 million rubles from the 2017-2020 budget. The idea was to inflate the cost of components for the production of Orlan-10 drones in the St. Petersburg Technology Center.

The embezzlement began in 2017. The Russian Central Bank reported that banks servicing the Defense Ministry’s money were operating in the underground economy, withdrawing cash and withdrawing capital. This conclusion was drawn by the Central Bank after inspecting 27 lenders through which the State Defense Order funds pass. According to a source close to the Central Bank and the financial and government survey organization Rosfinmonitoring, 50 to 70%. government defense service contracts are spent on “payments”. The value of the state arms modernization program, effective in 2011-2020, amounted to 20 trillion rubles.

On April 21, 2022, firefighters, ambulances and helicopters arrived on the smoky black banks of the Volga in the city of Tver. The Central Research Institute of the Air Defense Forces was on fire. The massive four-story building, occupying an entire block, burned to the ground; the fire was not extinguished until the following morning. 22 people died.

The secret institute for the development of the Iskander missile system burned down due to faulty wiring. While the two investigators search for those responsible for fire safety violations, their colleagues from the Military General Prosecutor’s Office examine more than 350 volumes of criminal files relating to embezzlement at the institute. Major General Sergei Jagolnikov, then boss, was arrested in this case in February 2019. Jagolnikov has an impressive biography: he worked at the institute from the late 1970s, and as a doctor of technical sciences and a retired military officer, he has more than 300 scientific works. However, according to investigators, in recent years he has created a system by which millions of sums have been stolen from the budget of the Ministry of National Defense for secret projects.

Jagolnikov’s arrest was preceded by complaints to the police by several dozen Tver pensioners, who reported that the local company RTIS had suddenly started demanding money allegedly paid to them under the contracts concluded. Federal Security Service officials checked the reports of Tver pensioners.

It turned out that, according to RTIS reports, in 2014-2018, writers’ retirees created the Defense Department-commissioned “Syrena” system, which monitors rocket launches from Alaska, and the air communication project “Akacja”. In fact, as the investigators found out, all the work was done by employees of the institute under the supervision of Jagolnikov. RTIS, 19% owned by the division general’s family. shares, he just received money from the Department of Defense. Subsequently, the money was distributed to hundreds of “dead souls” – the aforementioned pensioners who had nothing to do with the development of RTIS. Thus, according to the findings of the investigation, Jagolnikov embezzled almost 300 million rubles.

On March 25, 2022, authorities in Lviv informed about missile attacks carried out by the Russian military. On the same day, the trial of the former commercial director of the Tactical Missile Armaments Corporation (KTRW), Viktor Vagan, was held in a court in Voskresensk in the Moscow region. Wagan was sentenced to eight years in a maximum-security penal colony after being convicted of stealing a firearm. Three other people were sentenced to various terms in the maximum-security colonies, including Nikolai Yakovlev, director general of the Soyuz Machine-Building Engineering Office in Turajevo, which is part of KTRW.

The criminal case has been dragging on since 2018, but the case started even earlier. In 2010, Wahan and Yakovlev learned that the X-55 air maneuver missiles were to be disposed of at a test site near Moscow. As a result, the missile engines were sold to the Ukrainian company Motor Sich, and the remaining scrap was recycled. The Motor Sicz company paid $2.4 million for the engines.

In 2011, there was another fraud. Another 37 X-55 missiles were to be disposed of at the same training ground (its former director was sentenced to five years in prison). Instead, missile parts and warhead explosives were used by KTRW to produce 15 new H-31A air-to-surface missiles. For these missiles, the Ministry of Defense paid KTRW 255 million rubles.

In 2017, Khalil Arslanov, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia, was promoted to the rank of Colonel General. Two years later, he was charged with large-scale fraud and arrested by the Federal Security Service in February 2020. Soon another general, Alexander Annoblin, testified against Arslanov.

Annoblin said that in 2015, following Arshanov’s protection, he was offered the post of head of the first communications department of the Defense Ministry. At this time, the Russian army’s digitization program was in full swing, and Głoblin had to search for equipment suppliers and negotiate inflated prices. For example, fraudulent transactions when purchasing routers through Voentelecom JSC included an additional 20-25% fee. According to this scheme, 1,600 million rubles were stolen, Głeblin pleaded guilty, and in mid-February 2022 he was sentenced to four years in a minimum security penal colony.

Archanov has pleaded not guilty and his case is still under review. However, according to the investigation, based on the testimony of Ekspoblin, the main subject of the fraud was the next-generation radio station Azart, whose prices were overpriced by half. Even at the beginning of 2022, the survey estimated the losses associated with the purchase of 60 thousand. pieces of radio stations for 6 billion 700 million rubles. In early May, the Prosecutor General’s Office approved the indictment in the Arslanov case and took it to court. There are numerous Voentelecom sons in the case, but the alleged machinations with radio stations have not been taken into account.

At the end of autumn 2019, Rosguard units stationed in the north of the country (the largest organization among Russian internal security structures – editor’s note) received a delivery of snowmobiles and boats. The latter were to guard the Arctic ports, also in the most remote regions of Russia: the Republic of Yakutia and the Yamal Peninsula. Already during the first combat service, the hulls of the boat did not withstand freezing and cracked.

During the investigation, the Investigative Committee exposed five Rosguard officials who are currently accused of accepting bribes and embezzling budget funds. In the investigation, the initiator of the fraud is believed to have been Colonel Shalwa Museliani, who resigned in May 2018 from Rosguard’s main security department, where he was responsible for, among other things, fighting crime.

The flowchart was simple: in August 2018, a tender was announced on a government online trading platform for the purchase of snowmobiles and boats. The offer price was increased in advance by 10 percent. future bribe – took care of Sergei Vorobyov, head of technology policy at Rosgvard. The sole bidder and winner of the tender was Oboronyyje Technologii. The value of the contract was 376 million 200 thousand PLN. rubles. In the spring of 2019, Museliani reached an agreement with the co-owner of the company for a bribe of 30 million rubles. Of this amount, according to investigators, the officer received 19 million rubles.

For this money, the rosgarden who accepted the equipment turned a blind eye to its shortcomings. The investigation showed that the hulls of the boats were made of low quality polyethylene and failed the test. Damage caused by criminal activities was estimated at 262 million rubles. Museliani is still wanted.

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