Major corruption case clouds Russian base projects in Arctic

Russian soldiers on at the Nagurskoye military base on Alexandra Land. A major corruption case clouds the construction of Navy bases in Arctic Russia. (Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters)
Two men with close ties to the Ministry of Defence are charged with theft of almost 3 billion rubles in connection with the building of new Arctic Navy bases.

According to prosecutors, Dmitry Bushmanov and Aleksey Ekkert stole 2,9 billion rubles (€38 million) in connection with the construction of Navy base objects in Novaya Zemlya, Wrangel Island and Cape Shmidt.

The two men own the construction company Rusalians Stroy, which in 2014 won the multi-billion rubles tender. Up to 3.2 billion rubles of state money was transferred to the company as advance payment. A lion’s share of that money was subsequently stolen by Dmitry Bushmanov and Aleksey Ekkert, prosecutors say.

No guilty plea

According to newspaper Kommersant, a big number of additional cases against Rusalians Stroy have been filed during the last years.

Still, none of the men have pleaded guilty, and in a court hearing last week they won a partial victory when the judge decided that the case will be returned to the general prosecutor for further assessment. According to the judge, several law violations had been made during the investigation, Kommersant reports.

Ekkert and Bushmanov have been behind bars since early 2016.

Numerous projects

Both men have close connection with state apparatus. Aleksey Ekkert before 2009 worked in the Ministry of Defence. He has also worked in the regional administration of Nenets Autonomous Okrug and oil company Rosneft.

The case against Rusalians Stroy comes as Russia has invested big sums in the construction and upgrade of Arctic military bases.

By early 2017, about 1,000 workers were busy building more than 100 military objects in five Russian Arctic archipelagos. All objects were originally to be completed in the course of 2017.

Among them are 30 buildings and facilities on Alexandra Island, the base in Franz Josef Land. A similar number of objects are erected on the island of Wrangle and in Cape Shmidt, the two far eastern bases.

New technical positions and social infrastructure have been under construction also in Rogachevo, the military base on Novaya Zemlya.

The base of Kotelny in the New Siberian Island was reportedly ready to be handed over to the Northern Fleet already in mid-December 2016. Included in that project is the upgraded Temp airfield and the 12,000 square meter big trefoil-shaped Severny Klever housing and administration complex.

In April 2017, the 14,000 square meters military complex at the Nagurskoye base on Aleksandra Land, the northernmost of the islands of Franz Josef Land, was completed and ready for use.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Do Russian bomber patrols in the Arctic threaten Canada’s security and sovereignty?, Radio Canada International

Finland: Finland wants to bolster military by at least 64 fighter jets, YLE News

Norway: Norwegian soldiers crossed border to Finland, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Arctic infrastructure: Moscow runs dry, companies step in, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Swedish military wants to double in size, Radio Sweden

United States: Trump signs defense bill to allow more missile interceptors in Alaska, Alaska Public Radio Network

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

One thought on “Major corruption case clouds Russian base projects in Arctic

  • Tuesday, April 24, 2018 at 11:48

    The United States Board on Geographic Names set the spelling as “Wrangell Island” with two letter l’s on 29 July 1901.

    Wrangell Island was annexed for the United States Government on 12 August 1881 by 3rd Lt. William Edward Reynolds, USRM, on a sua sponte order of Captain Calvin L. Hooper, USRM. It was annexed under the name of “New Columbia Land”.

    Hooper became the first Arctic Adviser at the US Department of State, effective 1 November 1895, under a detail order from Senior Captain Charles Shoemaker, USRCS. Reynolds became the first Rear Admiral of the United States Coast Guard.

    On 17 May 1884, Wrangell Island, entered the District of Alaska, under the pen of the attorney for the Alaska board at the United States Department of the Treasury, viz.,,
    Major Ezra W. Clark.

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