The decision may be related to anti-Russian sanctions
Kazakhstan intends to recover 13.5 billion tenge – 2 billion rubles – of debt from Baikonur. The property of the company, which is a subsidiary of Roskosmos, was arrested. The head of TsENKI (Center for the Operation of Ground-Based Space Infrastructure), according to Kazakh media, is forbidden to leave the country. There is no mention of the incident in the Russian media yet.
In addition to all other problems with our cosmonautics, financial, technological, sanctions, it is possible that another one has been added – with the joint Russian-Kazakhstan project Baiterek, around which, according to our information, an international scandal is flaring up.
We have in our hands a Notification on the initiation of enforcement proceedings and the adoption of enforcement measures in relation to the Center for the Operation of Ground-Based Space Infrastructure JSC of the amount of debt in the amount of 13,684,550,338.7 tenge in favor of Baiterek Joint Kazakh-Russian Venture JSC. This decision was made by the court of the Astana International Financial Center. The writ of execution was issued at the end of November 2022. The documents stating that the TsENKI received a notice of the initiation of enforcement proceedings date back to the end of January 2023. But the consequences of this fully began to affect, apparently, only now. Publications have already appeared in the Kazakhstani media on the topic that “the actions of officials can turn into a serious blow to the entire bilateral space and research program. There is still no replacement for Baikonur, which has a unique geographical location, and there will never be. Maybe officials should calm their personal ambitions in such a turbulent time.”
TsENKI is the main operator of Russian spaceports. The largest enterprise in the structure of Roskosmos. At one time, a number of unpleasant stories were associated with him, in particular, on the construction at the Vostochny cosmodrome. Sometimes it was called the “Black Hole” of Roskosmos.
What is the reason for the latest scandal, the end result of which, according to the most pessimistic forecasts, could be Russia's potential withdrawal from Baikonur?
Back in July last year, Dmitry Rogozin, the then head of Roscosmos, said that the first planned launch of the Russian Soyuz-5 launch vehicle from Baikonur would probably have to be postponed again due to the lack of progress in the construction of the launch pad, which was responsible for the Kazakh side. .
At the same time, the authorities of Kazakhstan announced that the joint project of our two states, Baiterek, has been postponed for a period of six to twelve months.
Our common space exploration program was launched 19 years ago, it implied a serious technological breakthrough – the creation of an organizational and technical structure for the use of environmentally friendly launch vehicles at Baikonur to replace the ancient Proton rocket on poisonous heptyl. On the Russian side, the agreement was signed by Putin, and on the Kazakh side, by Nazarbayev. In those days, this project was loudly called the “Nazarbayev Start”.
To implement it, the Baiterek joint venture was created in 2005.
At first it was assumed that the Zenit launch vehicle, made in Ukraine, was supposed to take off … Then the year 2014 came … And we had to say goodbye to the dream of Zenit.
In 2017, for these purposes, we decided to make our Russian a launch vehicle called Soyuz-5.
Zenith launch complexes were handed over to Kazakhstan, and it was supposed to finance the modernization of the Soyuz-5 cosmodrome.
It was expected that the updated launch pad and the new rocket will give a “second birth” to the famous Baikonur.
Kazakhstan was responsible for the creation of ground infrastructure. Russia was developing the rocket itself.
Soyuz-5 flight tests were to begin at the Baiterek space-rocket complex in 2022.
Over the past years, the cost of the project has increased several times … In general, that's all. Nothing ever started. There is no launch pad, for the construction of which, according to some estimates, 62 billion rubles were spent. Not everything is clear with the rocket either.
Shortly after the appointment of the new head of Roskosmos, Yuri Borisov, he, together with the Minister of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry of Kazakhstan, Bagdat Musin, agreed to postpone the first test launch of Soyuz-5 from the Baiterek space complex from 2023 to 2024.< /p>
But now the question of the joint Baiterek project, apparently, is generally up in the air. And now “Baiterek” has seized the property of TsENKI.
The local Kazakh media associate the next scandal with a very nervous situation related to the delay in the construction of the launch pad and the general atmosphere around the Russian Federation, including anti-Russian sanctions, because of this, allegedly, Kazakhstan will not be able to use Russian missiles for commercial launches, as It was assumed earlier, and therefore is trying to distance itself.
The issue of paying for the modernization of the cosmodrome is also not clear. Who was supposed to pay for it and who would do the work? Russia or Kazakhstan?
Local media suggest that it is the Kazakh side that is delaying the deadlines, since it does not really want to get involved with all this, considering current events to consider this cooperation unprofitable for itself.
And so the Kazakh court arrested the property of the Russian TsENKI (Center operation of ground and space infrastructure), which deals with Baikonur. The formal reason for the arrest was the issue of financing the work on the EIA (environmental impact assessment) of the Soyuz-5 rocket, who should bear the costs.
But in the future this calls into question the very existence of the Soyuz-5 rocket. 5″. They wrote that, in addition to Baiterek, it could also be launched at the Sea Launch Cosmodrome in the Pacific Ocean, but its operation also requires huge financial injections, the amounts are called for $ 1 billion.
As of March 13 In 2023, that is, in just three days, it is planned to launch Proton-M from Baikonur with the Luch-5 satellite. If some problems begin with it, which is not excluded, then, perhaps, the flared up conflict has already entered a new stage, threatening further space cooperation between Kazakhstan and Russia. What would you really not want.