This morning’s press included various accounts of statements from Igor Korotchenko or in the name of the Defense Ministry’s Public Council, on which Korotchenko serves, about mitigating the impact of corruption on the State Program of Armaments (GPV), 2011-2020.
RIA Novosti quoted Korotchenko to the effect that the rearmament program will only be successful with strict financial accounting and effective measures against corruption in the State Defense Order (GOZ or гособоронзаказ).
He said Defense Minister Serdyukov is taking steps to ensure that resources are used as intended, including the establishment of a Military Products Price Formation Department and the resubordination of the Federal Arms, Military, Special Equipment and Material Resources Supply Agency (Rosoboronpostavka) to the Defense Ministry. But the latter step was done over six months ago, and not much has been heard about it since.
Novyye izvestiya and Novyy region quoted the Public Council’s statement:
“But for the army to receive all this [equipment in the GPV], money is simply not enough – it’s necessary to make things so that Defense Ministry generals, who to this point were occupied simultaneously with orders and purchases of weapons, don’t get access to money, are occupied only with formulating lists of everything needed for the conduct of modern war, but the function of monitoring prices and purchases should be transferred to other departments. Otherwise, government resources allocated to the GPV will get ‘sawed off,’ placing this program in jeopardy.”
Those are, of course, the jobs of the new Price Formation Department and Rosoboronpostavka. Serdyukov’s tax service veterans are supposed to free the payments system from graft, and use their experience to uncover complex theft schemes. Military prosecutors are also expected to be more active here. Main Military Prosecutor (GVP) Sergey Fridinskiy told Novyy region about prosecutors’ work in uncovering the theft of 6.5 billion rubles’ worth of military budget. He claimed his prosecutors have stopped 240,000 violations, suspended 12,000 illegal actions, held 40,000 people to account, and returned 4 billion rubles to the treasury. But it’s not clear what time period he’s talking about.
RIA Novosti recounted Korotchenko’s comments about preventing corruption in military RDT&E:
“Special control needs to be provided on scientific-research work and justification of expenditures on it, but also on the development of new types of armaments, since it’s precisely here that opportunities for different types of financial machinations and abuse exist.”
Of course, reminds RIA Novosti, RDT&E only amounts to 10 percent of the GPV. Bigger chances for theft exist in procurement, which is supposed to be 78-80 percent of the rearmament plan.
According to Novyye izvestiya, on the procurement side, Korotchenko says, in past years, a minimum of 45-50 percent of money for arms simply ended up in someone’s pocket. For this reason:
“For the very same money, Russia buys 14 tanks a year, and India 100. This led the country’s leadership to the kind of thinking reflected in the Defense Minister’s authority to reorganize the entire purchasing scheme. This time [the new GPV] 19 trillion rubles are at stake. Can you imagine with what interest the ‘market players’ are waiting for them? But the state machinery is running: many OPK directors are already being removed, in the case of the director of one of the system-forming design bureaus, suspected of stealing money from a state order through offshore shell companies, an investigation is being conducted, and other criminal cases in orders-purchases from previous years are also possible.”
The nongovernmental National Anticorruption Committee says the average kickback in civilian contracting is 30 percent, but, in defense, it’s 60 to 70 percent. Because arms prices are secret [and hard to determine anyway], no one knows how much this is. But common sense says this makes everything cost nearly twice what it should.