In the muddy waters of USC | Latest news The Moscow Post
17 October 2021

In the "muddy waters" of USC

We continue to spin the thriller around the modernization of the heavy cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov: the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) promises not to go out of schedule. What's in reality?

The Moscow Post has been monitoring this sensitive situation for more than 6 months, since it became known that USC had a big production conflict: it suddenly refused the services of a contractor - the well-known St. Petersburg company JSC Investments. Engineering. Construction. (JSC I.E.C.). the company has unique technologies for dredging and more than 100 completed hydraulic engineering projects.

JSC I.E.C. in September 2020 could have already completed 100% of the first stage in the declared by Glavgosexpertiza 6.645 billion rubles against the original 7.7 billion rubles. JSC I.E.C. has not received any complaints from the customer either in terms of quality or timing. However, the contract was terminated under article 717 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation, which provides for the unilateral right of the customer to terminate the contract without explanation and to repay all losses to the contractor.

This charade had to be correctly solved first, and then draw the right conclusions. But a number of other companies were involved in this action-packed thriller, in the course of the melodrama. Rakhmanov's Department also walked with a heavy gait through JSC SSTC (JSC Shipbuilding and Shiprepair Technology Center): as a result, the Deputy Director, who is also the head of the PF Soyuzproektverf, Valery Kireev may be involved in a criminal case.

The result of all this "mess" was the freezing of work on the construction site, although Mr. Rakhmanov never tires of repeating that the upgraded aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov will be delivered on time. But  at one time the head of the USC promised the same "fast terms" both the floating nuclear power plant Akademik Lomonosov and the nuclear icebreaker Arctic. Why is Mr. Rakhmanov persistently "kneading water in a mortar", instead of giving the "green light" to upgrade the cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov? Can he be a dual agent since government projects drop one after the other in such a way?

The correspondent of The Moscow Post has been investigating the details.

Top manager vs statesman

To begin with, let's tell you who is involved in this thriller, besides USC CEO Alexey Rakhmanov, who graduated from business school in Chicago in 2003. Much is also known about the head of JSC I.E.C. Gleb Yevtushenko: he is the head of a successful design and construction company that has been working in the hydraulic engineering market for 14 years.

The third in this "Bermuda triangle" was Valery Kireev, honoured designer of the Russian Federation, Deputy General Director of JSC JSC Shipbuilding and Shiprepair Technology Center (JSC SSTC) – Director of the PF Soyuzproektverf. Valery Kireev is the author of 4 scientific works, initiator of projects for the long-term development of shipbuilding and ship repair facilities: SC Zvezda, JSC PO Sevmash, JSC SC Zvezdochka with all branches, JSC SC Admiralty shipyards, JSC Severnaya Verf Shipyard, LLC Baltiysky Zavod-Sudostroenie, etc.  He was awarded a medal to the order of merit for the Fatherland, II degree.

That is, in the course of the thriller, there is a dispute between a top manager - an official who received a diploma in Chicago and a professional technician with 40 years of experience, a designer and developer of concepts for the development of shipyards.

And how did it happen that such an experienced specialist as Valery Kireev, from the submission of a graduate of the business school Alexey Rakhmanov, became (together with JSC I.E.C.) almost one of the perpetrators of the disruption of work on the docking and modernization of the heavy aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov?

Disruption of work: who is to blame?

The editorial office of the Moscow Post, making another series of investigations, received a lot of interesting documents, in particular, a report on "the impossibility of implementing the project".

So, we are talking about the reconstruction and technical re-equipment of the 2-chamber dry dock at the 35 Ship Repair Plant.

At the moment, the project is being implemented at an unsatisfactory pace and inevitably shifts the production period of the aircraft carrier to 2022.

Reasons?

1. The design and estimate documentation of the 2nd stage, developed by the general designer (SSTC), was uploaded in electronic form to FAI Glavgosexpertiza to check the completeness of 12-13.12.2019, but was not signed by the customer until 20.07.2020. And on 20.07.2020, at the direction of the general director of USC, the customer handed the general designer a notice of termination of the actually executed contract without specifying the reasons.

2. The customer enters into a contract with a new contractor (JSC Institute Orgenergostroy) for the adjustment of design and estimate documentation, developed by SSTC. Considering the planned design changes, the new general designer (Orgenergostroy) will need to adjust the design and estimate documentation, obtain a positive conclusion of the main environmental assessment and conduct state expertise of design and estimate documentation with the minimum possible period of work and obtain a positive conclusion of the FAI Glavgosexpertiza for at least 6 months, but not earlier than 28.02.2021. Taking into account the obtaining a construction permit no earlier than 10.03.2021. this will enable the company performing construction and installation work to start performing the second stage of work.

3. Productivity of works on the device of the enclosing lintel from steel pipe sheet pile is lower than required and is 1.5 SPSP/day, which is 4.5 SPSP/day less than necessary. Work on the construction of the protective lintel from the SPSP should be completed on 20.10.2020 concerning the North-Western part and 18.11.2020 concerning the South-Western part.

4. Work on the device of retaining walls had to be completed by 01.10.2020, taking into account their productivity of 0.5 piles/day.

5. Works on the installation of anti-filtration cover on the North-Eastern side of the enclosing wall and the South-Western side of the enclosing wall by 07.05. 2021 and 05.05.2021, respectively.

6. In parallel works for installation of temporary utilities are to be completed by 02.03.2021.Till 12.10.2021. - work on the device, mooring bollards, capstans and bump stops are to be completed.

7. Legally, only after receiving positive conclusion and permit for construction on the 2nd phase, the work should be done, which may be performed by advancing the procedure under the protection of the existing caisson gate, namely: a device enclosing end wall by 20.01.2021, demolition work at the dock itself and arrangement of ground anchors of the dock by 12.10.2020, disassembly of the interlock lintel and a pumping station by 12.02.2021, dismantling the end wall of the dock and the bottom dock plate by 18.06.2021.

Next, work is carried out on pumping water from the pit (observing the estimated pumping speed - 28 days). And a huge range of work is being carried out on the development of soils (including rock). Anti-filtration walls of the bank protection are arranged, anchors are installed to reinforce the existing dock walls, as well as in the North-Western and South-Western walls of the bank protection, concreting of the slipway plate and existing dock walls is carried out with the completion date of the entire complex no earlier than 30.09.2021.

8. After the installation of the dock support device, the pit is filled with water until 25.10.2021, followed by disassembly of the closure channel until 18.11.2021 and parallel dredging of the approach, subsequent winding of the Admiral Kuznetsov cruiser into the dock, restoration of the closure channel and pumping of the pit (28 days).

Taking into account the above mentioned, the implementation of the entire complex of works, considering the actual absence of design and estimate documentation for the 2nd stage, due to the termination of the contract with JSC SSTC unilaterally, low productivity of work and non-fulfillment of some complexes of work, tightness in carrying out work under the protection of caissons and the enclosing lintel, the winding up of the heavy aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov in 2021 is not possible.

Comment by Sergey Sapronov, an expert on corruption issues:

- Implementation of national projects in the shipbuilding industry involves the allocation of a large amount of budget funds, which increases the risks of corruption. The industry records delays in the provision of project documentation, changes in contractors, which ultimately affects the timing of project implementation and the efficiency of using budget money.

One of the most striking examples is the history of the repair of the heavy aircraft cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov. Initially, USC signed a contract for the construction of the dock and repair of the air cruiser with the company JSC I.E.C. Repairs were estimated at almost 80 billion rubles, of which 23 billion rubles was the cost of reconstruction of the dry dock. However, in 2019, USC terminated the contract. The corporation claimed that the contractor was experiencing financial difficulties. And didn't do any work. The company I.E.C. accused the customer of improper financing and delays in project documentation. The dispute between USC and JSC I.E.C. is being resolved in the Arbitration court. This delays the timing of the work. Initially, the cruiser was supposed to dock in 2022, but now the deadline has been postponed to 2023. What is the conclusion? The main reasons for problems with the implementation of the state defense order are the inefficiency of management and control systems of USC.

There are many contradictions in the activities of USC, which negatively affects the fulfillment of the terms of implementation of contracts and their cost.

A report prepared by independent experts on problems in the shipbuilding industry was sent to the Government of the Russian Federation, the Accounts Chamber, the IC, the Prosecutor General's office, the FSS, the Presidential Administration's Anti-Corruption Department and the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.

I believe that for the effective functioning of the shipbuilding industry and preventing the implementation of possible corruption schemes, it is necessary to change the position of the state and strengthen control over the use of budget funds, supervisory control over companies and key project figures, and a new mechanism for regulating of the allocated funds from the budget in contrast to the existing control post factum.

Letter to Vladimir Pospelov

Member of the MIC Board, Chairman of the MIC Board for shipbuilding V. Pospelov

Dear Vladimir Yakovlevich,

June 4, 2020 JSC SSTC was informed by a phone call from the chief engineer of the 35 Ship Repair Plant branch of the Zvezdochka shipbuilding center about the desire of the USC management to terminate the actually executed contract No. 13617 dated 07.09.2015 for the development of project documentation (PD) for the reconstruction of the 35 SRP dry dock with compensation for actual costs.

After uploading by SSTC the completed project documentation of the 2nd stage on the website of the FAI Glavgosexpertiza 12-13. 12. 2019, work under the contract was officially suspended due to the absence of a letter from the customer from the budget manager.

On the issue of termination, the representative of the 35 SRP was asked to send an official appeal stating the reasons.

1. Possible reasons, is convenient for the management of USC for the purpose of the termination of actually executed by SSTC contract is a notorious increased seismicity and associated stability calculations and design of hydraulic solutions and the investment cost of the project is higher than the declared by USC in the Ministry of Industry and Trade, which requires USC making the appropriate decision.

2. The correctness of the seismic survey and determination of seismic loads for stability calculations is confirmed by the positive conclusion of the FAI Glavgosexpertiza at the 1st stage and, additionally, by the conclusion of the Institute of Physics of the Earth. n. a. Schmidt, and the accuracy of accounting is confirmed by the FBU CNIIP of the Ministry of Construction which carries out scientific support of the project.

3. The increased investment cost of the project, which is connected to the leadership of USC with the increased seismicity imposed by the general designer is associated with the customer and the requirements that were included in the technical requirement for the development of project documentation and the project documentation itself.

This is, in particular, the inclusion in the project of additional elements of the dock support device, tugs, the cost of creating additional capacity to ensure power supply, the desire to implement a separate project for creating NRS capacities within the project, the use of the shift construction method, as well as progressive methods of disassembly using diamond cutting to speed up work. They were stopped at the direction of USC.

All these "whims" and other measures that can be excluded without losing the functionality of the project can reduce the amount of investment by 5 billion rubles. They were offered by the SSTC to the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the customer. A detailed analysis of the estimate documentation shows that the detected increased seismicity leads to an increase in the investment value by 3 billion rubles.

4. Based on the results of the discussion of these issues during the video conference, organized on the initiative of the Deputy. Minister O. Riazantsev on 11 and 15.05.20, SSTC was almost directly accused of deliberately overstating the cost of the estimated documentation, and the management of USC offered to abandon the services of the SSTC.

5. USC searches for a new general contractor and general designer with the transfer to them (in violation of the legislation of the Russian Federation) for consideration of the 2nd stage PD developed by the SSTC. But any general designer involved in the project will only confirm the seismic estimates and design solutions of the SSTC, and the declared need for USC to reduce the investment cost will be reduced to the proposed SSTC exclusion of activities (not related to the reconstruction of the dock) by 5 billion rubles.

6. According to the general designer, it was USC that failed the reconstruction project from the very beginning: from a six-month unsuccessful search for a general contractor to an uncontrolled construction process that did not meet state objectives.

7. According to the project participants, the true essence of the USC's attempts to remove SSTC from the project is the need to present to the country's leadership the reasons for the failure to repair the Admiral Kuznetsov cruiser due to the need to introduce a new general designer and general contractor to the project.

But this will set back the start date of the cruiser's docking by 2.5 years

Unhealthy fantasies of Alexey Rakhmanov

Next. A specially arranged obstruction on the part of the customer did not allow SSTC to upload the finished PED to Glavgosexpertiza, although in December 2019 all documentation was ready. Why?

Mr. Rakhmanov invented various new innovative construction methods, such as the production of a floating caisson from the Monolit company (whose reinforced concrete chamber successfully collapsed after being used once on the project), as new methods for removing soil from the bottom of the dock in the amount of 300 thousand cubic meters.

Further, Mr. Rakhmanov came up with the idea to build conveyor belts (the cost of design and construction is several times higher than the planned export of dump trucks). Who is interested in all fairy tales?

Forcing SSTC to calculate all the crazy ideas of Mr. Rakhmanov delayed the deadline for submitting documents for at least 3 months. But why?

The answer is not on the surface: for the period from December 2019 to August 2020, the deflator index in the country grew and simply added 4.5 billion rubles from the air to the price of the second-stage of construction and installation works.

Meanwhile, Orgenergostroy has pledged to reduce the cost of work by as much as 3%. But in fact, Orgenergostroy, having got its hands on both redesign and construction, is now doing what it wants.

And SSTC was forced to refuse to perform works under the author's supervision due to serious deviations of construction works from the first stage approved by the work documentation examination.

Redesign of the first stage was not required in principle: after all, the documentation that received a positive conclusion of Glavgosexpertiza, the customer approved for the production of works - this is the law. Changed the contractor - well, but it is necessary to build something on the project that passed Glavgosexpertiza. And then the Chicago Friedman school of Economics, which taught Mr. Rakhmanov, gives a clear answer: money is needed here and now. And so that they are here and now, with the reduced by Glavgosexpertiza cost of the first stage from 7.7 billion rubles to 6.645 billion rubles, it is necessary to allow future defendants in criminal cases to create lawlessness on the construction site themselves: confuse the numbering of sheet piles, "mix" used pipes in the batch with new ones, cut off the underloaded pipe pile, etc.

PED of the second stage, developed by JSC SSTC, now the chief builder of USC Yushmanov sent by e-mail to the company Orgenergostroy, as the initial data for processing the project. Stealing is not good!

But more about this in the new chapters…

What does this mean? The state (JSC SSTC belongs to the Ministry of Industry and Trade - the guarantor of the loan of Zvezdochka in the Promsvyazbank for the construction of a dry dock) punishes itself. And Valery Kireev, inconvenient for Rakhmanov, is made a "scapegoat". How can Valery Kireev be accused of the fact that Zvezdochka for 6 months delayed the transfer of the PED of the first stage of JSC I. E. C., and did not pass the second at all?

Valery Kireev

The fact is that Kireev was warned: express your opinion about the appeal of JSC I.E.C. to the Presidential Administration and the Security Council, that is, express a sharply negative opinion on the contractor, and we will "roll up" the contractor, but SSTC replied simply: "We fully share the position of JSC  I. E. C."

Didn't follow instructions, didn't listen to warnings? So a criminal case is just around the corner?

"Mafia" from Chicago?

In general, Mr. Rakhmanov fails to modernize the heavy cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov. By the way, the real cases on the account of Rakhmanov are only criminal. Over the past few years, more than 60 criminal cases have been initiated against USC enterprises.

And many criminal cases involve good friends of Rakhmanov, such as Ilya Kokarev. Only in two criminal cases in which Kokarev was held, the damage to the state was estimated at 2 billion rubles.

What else is very curious? To do this, you need to think back to 2003: at that time, Mr. Rakhmanov was receiving a prestigious education in the United States: a master of business administration (MBA) degree. He studied at a business school in Chicago. The list of his fellow students at school is interesting. Again, Ilya Kokorev sat "at the same desk" in Chicago with Mr. Rakhmanov. And a certain Dmitry Paltsev graduated from this same school.

In 2011 Kokorev and Paltsev will sell Caspian Energy group to USC: it built offshore drilling platforms. The deal was arranged so that the ex-owners retained control of the Caspian Energy group for another 3 years. And when USC finally pulled out the right to dispose of the asset, it turned out that the most valuable asset (MTC Shelf) owners brought back to their firms.

Alexey Rakhmanov, graduate of Chicago business school

Other graduates of the Chicago school include Igor Savin, USC's Vice President of corporate governance. This was reported by Sudostroenie.info.

Another interesting character from Rakhmanov's team is Vice-President for civil shipbuilding Evgeny Zagorodny. He has worked both in the power industry and in the field of investment. And began to supervise all civil shipbuilding. It is noteworthy that Mr. Zagorodny has the status of honorary Consul of Slovenia, which he combines with access to state secrets.

It should be noted that Western business schools are also a traditional place of recruitment by special services. The assumption that the head of USC and his close circle are pouring water on the mill of Western states, whose special services actively recruit agents among Russians, only at first glance seems to be the delirium of a madman. But! We need to take a closer look at what is happening in the USC: this is the failure of the state defense order, the delay in the delivery of nuclear icebreakers, the actual destruction of the base for the construction of drilling rigs for the Arctic, and the deliberate collapse of enterprises... And, finally, the artificial freezing of the modernization of the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov.

And how else can all these failures be evaluated?

TO BE CONTINUED

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