The first launch from the new Russian Сosmodrome “Vostochny” did not take place. The historic launch was supposed to be witnessed by president of Russia Vladimir Putin, who flew over 7,000km to open the Cosmodrome. But, as the media showed, the fatal error angered him, which is understandable. This launch site is of strategic importance for Russia, and Putin’s presence at the start was to show the world the power of Russian science and technology. However, something went wrong, and the relaunch has been postponed till April 28, when the rocket was successfully launched.
Our sources report that it was known more than 5 hours prior that the launch of “Soyuz 2.1 A” with three satellites on board would not take place. Despite Putin travelling for about 7 hours, he could have been pre-warned to avoid suffering significant reputational damage. However, this did not happen either, or the information was conveyed to the highest person in the country too late. From the point of view of the state information policy, it is a complete failure, and yet another reason for Russia detractors to criticize the Russian leadership and the Russian president personally.
Why did Russia build a new spaceport?
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Russia currently stages space launches from the Kazakhstan leased Baikonur cosmodrome. There is a military Cosmodrome Plesetsk on the territory of Russia, but it is in the northern latitudes, which makes it difficult to send ships and satellites into space. The new launch site is necessary in order to gain real space sovereignty and to not depend on the issue of space launches from other countries.
The new launch pad will provide an opportunity to carry out launches of manned and cargo ships in near and deep space, satellites of various purposes, and automatic interplanetary stations. Satellite launches and ships will pass over sparsely populated areas of the Russian Far East, and water areas, which will reduce the potential damage from falling spacecraft. This is the most convenient place in terms of the small population, security, and proximity to the southern latitudes.
Vostochny should become the center of a cluster of development in the south of the Russian Far East. The new city built in the area of the spaceport is to be named Tsiolkovsky. In addition, the transfer of a large part of the launches from Baikonur to the Far East forced the Russian government and business to transfer part of the production cycle missiles in East Russia. So in 2015, the assembly of new “Angara” rockets was moved to Omsk, in the south of Western Siberia.
The opposition of the elites
There is a serious confrontation between two groups inside the Russian political elite: liberals and the siloviks. If the first can be attributed to the “sixth column”, which is closely associated with the United States, the latter are set on the sovereign foreign policy. The creation of a new world-class cosmodrome is the second of its kind on the territory of Russia. Accordingly, any failures related to the spaceport immediately become a favorite topic for discussion of the liberal media. Vostochny is a litmus test that allows you to determine which group is concretely supported by the media.
Supervision of the construction has been delegated to Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, a well-known hawk who feels lonely in the liberal Medvedev government. The cancellation of the launch created an artificially awkward situation where the President is obviously being directed personally against Rogozin. Russian media reported that Rogozin hastily withdrew from the observation deck when journalists reported the cancellation of the launch.
Corruption and the de-ideologization
In general, the situation with the East demonstrates that the liberal lobby cleverly uses the existing shortcomings of the Russian state system and the presence of influential high-ranking conductors who use their influence and positions to denigrate patriots. These drawbacks also reveal the story of the construction of the Vostochny cosmodrome. In particular, the delay in the construction of the strategically important launch site forced the President to intervene directly. The result revealed grand corruption among contractors and government agencies directly involved in construction. According to the General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation Yuri Chaika, more than 7.5 billion rubles ($1,000,000, 000) were stolen from the budget. Corruption has become the main argument of critics of the Russian government in other spheres. If in the West money makes power, in Russia power makes money. But this classical West/East dichotomy presumes systematic elite purges by the Tsarist regimes like the Russian example, specific indoctrination of bureaucracy traditionally in China, and the spirit of an imperial mission in the Byzantine Empire.
Of course, the state system has been corrupted also under the rule of the liberals in the 90’s, but the problem exists objectively. The only mechanism for its solution is a combination of hard repressive mechanisms of clean indoctrination of the elite and bureaucracy, motivated not only materially but also ideologically. Russian history shows that only the directive and command administration works in strategic areas in conjunction with the ideology of the special mission (imperial or socialist). It is this system that allowed the USSR to establish the foundation of modern Russian space complex.