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Omsk Tragedy Shows Russia’s Defense Weakness (Op-Ed)

At first glance, it seems as if the Russian authorities responded ideally to the comfortless fall of military fort at a paratrooper training core nearby Omsk that killed 24 soldiers. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Airborne Troops commander Vladimir Shamanov showed a degree of self-sacrifice by cutting brief their summer vacations. Shoigu supposing President Vladimir Putin with updates on the conditions any 30 mins from defense headquarters. Rescuers had not nonetheless pulled the last physique from the disadvantage when investigators had already pulled adult papers on the association that had carried out vital repairs to the building in 2013. The authorities mislaid no time in detaining the director of that construction organisation and the commander of the training core who had deemed the structure fit for residents.

It would seem as yet the authorities were over scolding in demonstrating such touching regard for the victims and relentless integrity in bringing the culpable parties to justice. After all, insane officials and thieving contractors are a problem the world over. However, a closer demeanour at the story reveals transparent systemic problems.

The barracks were initial built in the 1970s and the authorities systematic their renovate in 2013 when outrageous gaps were detected between the roof and walls. As usual, the local bureau of Spetsstroy — the Defense Ministry’s sovereign construction agency — served as the general contractor. However, the Omsk bend lacked both construction apparatus and workers. So, as usual, it total an entire sequence of subcontractors. The firm Remeksstroy — purebred in Nizhny Novgorod and located in a groundwork bureau of an aged Khrushchev-era building — was the fourth in that chain. It was that association that perceived the contract after profitable off the other participants in the chain. And this even yet past clients had filed countless complaints opposite Remeksstroy for previous contracts carried out for various siloviki structures. And despite those countless complaints, the siloviki continued to place orders value many millions of rubles with Remeksstroy, including a contract to repair a few of the paratrooper training core buildings that was value some-more than 2 billion rubles ($35 million).

There are dual reasons given the military was so smitten of Remeksstroy. First, it is compliant. Company directors primarily told the military coronet that the barracks were decayed and recommended demolishing them and building a new structure. However, when the military officials refused that option — and they, by virtue of their rank, contingency positively know best — Remeksstroy fast concluded to simply correct it and to the generous sum offering for their efforts. Had the military employed one of the some-more creditable construction companies in Omsk, it would have had to spend some-more time and money to carry out the work than was indeed required. Second, elementary fervour helps explain the love event with Remeksstroy. It was also fervour that encouraged officials to pocket many of the allocated appropriation and then give final capitulation to the building notwithstanding the countless defects. Of course, the commander of the training core competence have systematic that soldiers occupy the premises simply given he had to satisfy orders from his superiors. The contractor had roughly positively reported to the tip coronet that the work was finished behind in December, and that left the commander small choice though to move his infantry in. And now experts are wondering what caused the barracks to collapse like a house of cards.

The sad law is that many invulnerability orders are placed this way. Military officials always wish to carry out their projects quickly, low and so as to line their pockets in the process. They therefore sinecure whichever executive many simply creates that possible. And that is given they have a constant problem with particular tools and components of complex troops apparatus malfunctioning. Recall the string of disasters in Russia’s space attention and the unsuccessful exam flights of the Bulava missile. And keep in mind that 6 troops aircraft have crashed given Jun alone, including a Tu-95 vital bomber. The cause is obvious: The old aircraft are remade regulating poor parts. And that points to a some-more simple problem: The Defense Ministry is at once the customer and the group obliged for quality control.

It so happens that Deputy Defense Minister Tatyana Shevtsova reported to the boss usually days after the barracks tragedy that the ministry was closer than ever to eliminating crime from the invulnerability buying process. Putin has attempted over his whole 15 years in power to overcome this scourge. First, Sergei Ivanov total the posts of defense apportion and deputy primary apportion obliged for the invulnerability industry. In that approach he privately represented both the government as customer and the contractor, and it gave him the power to control subordinates on both sides of the process. Putin after total dual whole sovereign agencies in an try to cope with the problem. Rosoboronpostavka, the Federal Agency for the Procurement of Military and Special Equipment, was charged with formulating invulnerability orders to achieve the highest probable peculiarity at the lowest probable price. A second, Rosoboronzakaz, the Federal Agency for Defense Contracts, was charged with ensuring that budgetary supports were spent exclusively for their dictated purpose. Sergei Ivanov explained that, in order to reduce corruption, it was required to separate Defense Ministry officials obliged for placing invulnerability orders from those obliged for receiving the finished products. Last year President Putin dissolved both agencies as ineffectual and returned their functions to the ministries that place defense-related orders: the Defense Ministry, Interior Ministry, Federal Security Service and others.

And now the authorities have come adult with an ingenious solution. They have total a sort of interdepartmental complement of control by which any weapons sequence is reserved a unique series according to which all participating contractors are paid. According to this system, all subcontractors open accounts in authorized banks that, Shevtsova claims, contingency assistance safeguard that the money is spent as earmarked. The main design of this system, Shevtsova progressing told journalists, is to “stain” or “mark” the cash upsurge allotted for carrying out the state’s invulnerability orders, to separate it from the firm’s altogether income upsurge and to thereby safeguard clarity along the entire sequence of production.

The idea behind the new law is clear. In recent years the government has increasingly seen the money earmarked for weapons prolongation disappear after the company obliged for carrying out final public distributed those supports among the producers of various member parts. That is no surprise. After all, in the mid-2000s, Putin systematic the consolidation of the hundreds of defense industry-related enterprises into a arrange of gigantic common plantation that seemed specifically designed to ensure that income would disappear though a trace. It is no fluke that the new laws particularly prohibits companies from transferring income from those “numbered” bank accounts for the squeeze of securities and precious metals bullion, or to “charitable organizations” and individuals.

In her news to President Putin, Shevtsova cited the example of a certain plant in the Amur region — presumably the Amur Shipbuilding Plant — where some of the allege supports from the Defense Ministry were used to provide interest-free loans to senior crew at the plant. Those supports were also used to pay off debts of the plant’s primogenitor association and to compensate for the services of a unfamiliar offshore company.

The corruption schemes are understandable. What is not transparent is given Shevtsova thinks her anti-corruption intrigue can succeed. After all, given would an “authorized” bank — after years of working with a factory executive to siphon off supervision funds — unexpected spin around and inform on that factory? The bank would not usually risk bearing for previous crimes, though remove that longstanding source of income. Why would a parent company — that had always cheated the subsidiaries that did the actual work out of their legitimate profits — unexpected get frightened by some “numbered” bank account? Nothing could be easier than bribing officials at the Financial Monitoring Service and Defense Ministry slip department. Corruption can't be marinated in an removed zone with the help of “stained” or “marked” accounts. Putin has total a government that serves the vested interests of its officials, and Russia will overcome crime usually when the underlying purpose of that complement changes.

Alexander Golts is emissary editor of the online journal Yezhednevny Zhurnal.

Article source: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/525900.html