Europe

Russian boss detained after Vostochny space base strike

Russian Soyuz booster rocket - file pic Image copyright AP
Image caption A Soyuz booster rocket: Mismanagement has hit the new Vostochny project

Russian authorities have detained a top manager after 26 unpaid workers building a new space launch centre in the far east went on hunger strike.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin is now overseeing the Vostochny project. The strike was triggered when a subcontractor went bankrupt, he said.

He promised the workers that "all the issues will be resolved", he said, and "the strike has ended".

Russian media say the workers' boss Sergei Terentyev has been detained.

Construction of the Vostochny cosmodrome in the Amur region is four months behind schedule, Russia's Vesti TV news reports (in Russian).

The hunger strike by 26 workers began on Friday, but about 100 workers have been on strike since 24 March in the wage dispute.

Missing funds

The Russian government hopes to launch the first rocket from Vostochny in December, but because of the construction delays that target date might be missed, Vesti reports.

The first launch of a manned spacecraft from Vostochny is planned for 2018.

Mr Terentyev runs the firm Stroyindustriya-S - one of the subcontractors in the project. Russia's Investigative Committee (known as SK in Russian) suspects him of an economic crime - failure to pay workers for more than two months.

A federal agency managing the project - Dalspetsstroy - is also under suspicion, Vesti reports.

Investigators are trying to track down 16bn roubles (£189m; $282m) which disappeared from Dalspetsstroy's accounts. The agency's former head Yuri Khrizman was arrested last year, suspected of stealing - along with aides - 1.8bn roubles (£21m; $32m).

More on this story