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Ex-Chief Of Construction Company For Troubled Russian Space Facility Found Dead

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The former chief of a company involved in the often-delayed, corruption-plagued construction of Russia’s new space launch facility has been found dead in a suspected suicide, media reports say.

Dmitry Savin, 54, was found dead in the backyard of his home on the outskirts of Moscow on January 27, Russian media reported.

Savin had a gunshot wound to his head and a gun he owned was found nearby, according to the reports, which cited law enforcement officials they did not identify.

Savin was a former deputy head of the construction company Dalspetsstroi, the main contractor for the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Amur Oblast near the border with China.

He left the job in March 2015, amid strikes by workers over unpaid wages and government criticism over delays in completing construction of the facility, which is intended to reduce Russia’s dependence on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

At the time, then-Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin wrote on Facebook that he had asked a superior to dismiss Savin because he had tried to hide the wage arrears, state-run RIA-Novosti news agency reported.

Rogozin, who now heads the Russian space agency Roskosmos, also said at the time that Savin had arranged for his wife to receive a highly lucrative job at the facility.

The Vostochny project has been dogged by delays and evidence of corruption. Several people involved in its planning and construction have also been arrested on embezzlement and fraud charges.

Savin was replaced by Yury Volkodav, who is currently under arrest on a charge of abusing his position.

Savin’s predecessor in the post, Yury Khrizman, was convicted of embezzlement and other crimes and sentenced to 12 years in prison in February 2018.

The first launch from Vostochny took place in April 2016, after a one-day delay caused by a technical glitch that angered President Vladimir Putin, who was present for the launch.

The launch was successful, but one of the satellites put into orbit by the rocket soon stopped functioning.

Three successful launches — all unmanned — have been conducted from Vostochny, including on December 27, 2018.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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