Ukraine War Day #381: SBU Arrests Antonov Managers

Dear Readers:

Today I have this piece by reporter Rafael Fakhrutdinov. Former top managers of the Ukrainian aerospace firm Antonov have been arrested by the SBU (Ukrainian security service, heir to the Soviet KGB). They are charged with what looks to be treason; namely assisting Russian troops way back at the start of the Special Military Operation (SMO). Readers may recall that on the very first day of the SMO (February 24), in an act of derring-do, Russian commandos operating way in the front of the lines, seized the Hostomel Airport near Kiev, where the legendary An-225 airplane was stationed. The plane is a marvel of technology and goes by the name “Mria”, which is the Ukrainian word for “Dream”.

Sergei Bychkov: Has been arrested.

Now the SBU are claiming that this operation was an “inside job” and the Russian army had help. They have arrested the former Director of the Antonov Enterprise, a man named Sergei Bychkov. They arrested another man whose last name is Netesov (first name not given), he used to be the Director of Security at the famous aerospace plant.

The case for the prosecution: The Ukrainian General Prosecutor claims that the Antonov management, in January-February 2022, would not allow militants from the National Guard onto the property of the aerodrome in Hostomel. Who said they needed to be there, to strengthen the air and ground security around the airport. This willful negligence led directly to the Russian seizure of the aerodrome and their successful destruction of the largest An-225 in the world.

The An-225 plane is monstrously large.

Earlier, the Captain of this plane, Dmitry Antonov, described how, back in January 2022, some NATO representatives proposed that the Ukrainians relocate the entire airport to Leipzig, Germany, along with all its personnel and equipment.

Antonov: The NATO technical representatives received no reply to their offer. No decision was taken. None of the planes were moved, neither the An-225 itself, nor the smaller An-28’s, An-26’s, nor An-74’s. Nobody was around to make a decision: The top management of the company had left the country two weeks before the hostilities started, and had settled in a suite of offices in Leipzig. Their offices there are called Antonov Logistics Salis.

[yalensis: I don’t get it. If the top management had moved to Leipzig, doesn’t that mean they were planning to move the whole enterprise there? Maybe they just thought they had more time…]

Reporter Fakhrutdinov goes on to remind us that the Ukrainians themselves blew up the “Mria” An-225. I didn’t know that, I thought the Russian commandos had blown it up. Anyhow, this “Mria” was a legendary work of art and technology which the Ukrainians had inherited from the USSR. When Russian Spetsnaz commandos parachuted down into the aerodrome, located just 25 kilometers to the Northwest of Kiev, Ukrainian artillery accidentally shot right into the hanger where the Mria was housed, and the massive plane just burned up.

More Arrests

More than a year has passed since that thrilling day, but the Ukrainian wheels of “Justice” are just starting to grind. As villains (or scapegoats) are sought. Another important entrepreneur who now finds himself under arrest is a man named Vyacheslav Boguslaev. He is the ex-Director of another major company, Motor Sich, considered the “pearl” of Soviet engine makers. According to the SBU, the 83-year-old Boguslaev is a wretched traitor “who collaborated with a terrorist organization” by working with another company located in the Donetsk Peoples Republic. They say that his actions led to a technology transfer to a Russian company. His contract with the DPR company allowed the siphoning of over 290 million rubles (in the form of tax receipts) to flow into the DPR budget.

Vyacheslav Boguslaev

Ukrainian political observer Vladimir Skachko sees a pattern in the arrests and in the way the Ukrainian government is undermining its own technology enterprises: “The Ukrainian authorities are consciously cutting down their own high-technology enterprises, because they don’t want the workers of these company to leave and take their projects with them to places like Russia, China, Iran, and India. They operate under the principle of Nobody can have you! In this way the West is trying to obstruct the flight of specialists and technologies to their competitors.

“Do you remember how, at the beginning of the 2000’s, the U.S. accused Ukraine of selling to Iraq the Kolchuga system of passive radio-electronic reconnaissance? And ever since that time Washington has increasingly put pressure on the Ukrainian Military-Industrial Complex. The pressure increases with every day that goes by.

“What will happen with the Antonov? I think that the most valuable components of these enterprises will be relocated to the West. Some shells will be left behind to work on simple components. Perhaps the Antonov will become a filial of one of the Western aerospace companies.

Ukrainian journalist Vladimir Skachko

“And, by the way, the managers of any other Ukrainian enterprise might expect the same criminal prosecution to befall them. Because, in the actions of the SBU, one might also detect a warning to other Ukrainian specialists.

“The charges against the Antonov management are laughable on the face of it. The notion that anybody in this bordello would have the power to refuse entry to the National Guard, when they come bursting in, to check the defenses.” [yalensis: I’m not so sure. An oligarch like Kolomoisky would have had the power to refuse entry to the National Guard if they showed up at one of his factories. But maybe not somebody like Bychkov.]

Skachko: “And, by the way, this [arrest of Bychkov] is still further proof that American Intel, even before the start of the SMO, had warned Zelensky’s office and other Ukrainian officials, about the possible start of the operation, specifically in the Kiev Oblast.”

Roman Gusarov, who edits the portal, has a slightly different take on the arrests: He believes that they are just part of a banal witch hunt, in which the Ukrainian government is seeking to find scapegoats for their failures on the battlefield:

“Besides which, the SBU and the Prosecutor’s Office need to prove how useful they are in the struggle against internal enemies. They have to do this, otherwise they themselves might be sent off to the front. And it’s a very simple and obvious matter to accuse the leaders of industrial enterprises, former Soviet factories, of collaborating with Russia.

Roman Gusarov

“This incident [with Bychkov] is by no means the only one. Many managers who sought to maintain cooperation and [economic] ties with Russia, have been charged with similar crimes. One of the loudest cases is that of Vyacheslav Boguslaev, of Motor Sich.

“Of course, one important factor here, is that Boguslaev was a member of the Party of Regions. [yalensis: That was the Party of Yanukovych, and their loyal voting base was in the Donbass. The Party was banned after the 2014 Maidan coup.] And Russia happened to be his main customer. He imported all his parts from Russia [and exported the finished product to Russia]. As the Director he did everything in his power to keep Motor Sich afloat. But the SBU had it in for him.

“And now it looks like the Antonov management are getting the same treatment. Even though it is obvious that their accusation, that their actions led to the destruction of the An-225, is ludicrous. […] Especially since we know that the plane was destroyed by Ukrainian artillery.

“All the intelligent entrepreneurs understand that it is not possible to guarantee stable work for their factories, without Russia. For sure, people express the opinion that the West will help them. But the West is only interested in squeezing out the money. If the Europeans or Americans actually needed Ukrainian factories, then they would have bought them up a long time ago and got the production going again. In the whole of the past 30 years, everything that Antonov has produced, has been for the Russian market. [….]

“Meanwhile, the technology has advanced far ahead. Antonov is stuck at the level of Soviet technology of the end of the 1980’s. These models do not suit current European demands.” Gusarov concludes that Ukraine is no longer capable of engaging in massive technological projects, and that its aerospace industry is practically dead.

This entry was posted in Economics, Military and War, True Crime and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Ukraine War Day #381: SBU Arrests Antonov Managers

  1. I am moderately surprised Antoniv is still considered a firm that produces anything. By the way, they claimed last year that they would demand reparations from Russia to finance the reconstruction of the AN 225.


    • yalensis says:

      They only get reparations if they are able to overthrow the government in Moscow and install their own. Otherwise they just have to do a big write-off on their ledger book.


  2. Gatopreto says:

    Dear Yalensis: you fail to emphasize that Antonov was originally a Russian company that the soviets moved from Moscow to the Ukraine. By the way, the Antonov is/was looking for assistance outside of Ukaine to rebuild the legendary An-225. One of the companies contacted was Embraer from Brazil, where yous truly was born and lives and from where continues to pester you. Greetings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • MrDomingo says:

      I think it was in Siberia before move to Ukraine. I am aware of only one reason in that it was easier to source qualified engineers there than to attract them with more money to relocate to Siberia. If it happened early after 1945 then it was Stalin’s decision, else later on, it could have been Kruschev.


      • yalensis says:

        Thanks for the added info, Gato & Domingo!
        Yes, Antonov was a Soviet company. In Soviet times it mattered little if you worked in Siberia or Ukraine, it was still just the same country, and the same person signed your paycheck.
        Well, I can understand why some Soviet scientists might prefer to live in the Ukraine, milder climate and all. They would never imagine in their wildest dreams that they would end up working for Nazis, and forbidden to speak in their native Russian.


  3. S Brennan says:

    “they are just part of a banal witch hunt, in which the Ukrainian government is seeking to find scapegoats for their failures on the battlefield”

    Yep, the Gestapo was famous for this crap and that reach a crescendo in the final days of the war. And the weird part of this, the people arrested had to be some of the most loyal in Ukrainia…

    Why-oh-why would a talented Chief Engineer hang around a failed state being fed into the maws of war when he could quickly take a car/plane west to say, Frankfurt-Dubai-Moscow? In 24 hours he could start living a normal life devoid of the thievery/betrayal that the Nazis are so noted for? Language would not be a barrier, it’s my understanding that the only thing required in Russia for citizenship is a loyalty oath and mastery of Russian. Ukrainia allowed itself to be used as kindling to a World-War by the “elites” of DC/London…it does not deserve to have good people amongst it’s population.

    One thing that does bother me….watching Ukrainia’s exodus, living comfortably in North America, cheering -on a war with Russia from the bench. Hey, if fighting Russia is such a great idea, why aren’t they over there wearing Ukrainia’s uniform? I know…I know, they’ve “got better things to do”, it should be other people being maimed & dying for Ukrainia’s emigres delusions of grandeur.


  4. the pair says:

    not related at all but i can’t help but notice skachko is a dead ringer for stephen root:


    • yalensis says:

      Well, it could just be a coincidence, but it is known that Skachko, during his interview with Fakhrutdinov, kept asking about the whereabouts of his red stapler….


  5. Pity the poor AN-225. It made headlines a while back (I won’t bother to do the research and drop a sly link) even Downundahere. The 6-engined flying walrus brought some massive piece of made-in-Europe mining equipment to West Australia* — the only aeroplane (as it’s spelt here) that could haul a hefty piece of metal to one of the holes in the dirt upon which Australia’s (meagre) fortune is based. I remember thinking at the time (it was featured on the front page of the local big-city paper) “This is the modern equivalent to the Spruce Goose.**”

    And so does the snake continue to eat its own tail — Orobouros! Arrest anyone that the Nazis think has been disloyal. And if you’re going to throw someone in a prison cell, why not just shoot them in the head? Because there’s lots of other stuff to be done, and Nazis can’t waste time feeding these bastards and going through the motions of a “trial”with “evidence” and all that crap. They don’t like them; they’ve got goons with guns who can zip-tie them and throw them in the back of a police van, so why not just kill them quickly so they can get on to the next Important Item Of Business.

    What’s going to be left of the topographical creation known as “Ukraine” when the cordite dust settles on all this shit? There’s a large land mass there. There are many people who exist on that soil (although their numbers are declining every hour.) Sooner or later, the killing and fleeing are going to stop. Then there will be this patch of (apparently highly fertile) dirt that stretches for 1,000 km west to east. Humans will be living on that dirt. But lots of the humans who are left alive will be old (the young’uns skedaddled). The businesses that could make things have been blown all to hell. The people with enough smarts to do things with those buildings and land are being persecuted by Nazis. Something is going to occupy that space, because Nature abhors a vacuum.***

    Let’s say Russia goes whole-heartedly into rebuilding whatever territory of the former Ukraine it ultimately winds up with. Here’s hoping that they’ll do that better than the U.S. did with Iraq. The rest of Ukraine is likely to be a failed state, a new Afghanistan or Congo, on the edge of Europe. Prosecuting people like these guys who got arrested, the ones who run productive businesses, adds to the failure. These are high-profile people, so they’ve gotten attention from reporters such as Fakhrutdinov. How many lesser lights, like the manager of some local grain elevator, have been railroaded out by SBU Nazis because they spoke too much Russian and they pissed off some Banderite whose delivery trucks always had to wait at the back of the line? Stuff like that, repeated at hundreds of times and places, are what hollows out a functioning society.

    It’s one thing to have a tiny corrupt and dangerous place like Moldova in an isolated part of the periphery. A BIG place like remnant Ukraine, with far more people (including those who have been seeded throughout Europe), that’s been recently traumatised, where lots of weapons are floating around — that’s like having an open, infected wound on your leg. The infection is going to spread to the surrounding flesh, or enter the bloodstream and make the entire body go septic.

    * WA is an OK place, mainly Perth and the southwest bend of this island continent. I went there once on holiday. But it’s mainly a doGforsaken sandpit that covers a lot of iron ore, coal and other substances that machines excavate and send to other countries where smarter people make it into useful stuff.

    ** You might not be old enough to remember Howard Hughes. He was the original “mysterious billionaire” circa the 1960s and ‘70s, when the Big B was a not commonplace designation of wealth. In the 1940s, Hughes built an enormous 8-engined seaplane (frame was spruce wood) that was intended to ferry troops and supplies around the Pacific, where the USA was fighting the Japs. It test-flew one time, but was too impractical to put into production, similar to the B-70 Valkyrie supersonic bomber of much later vintage. Just because something is a great engineering concept doesn’t mean it’s going to be practical in the Real World…

    *** Except for the matter-less vacuum that occupies 99.9999(repeating)% of the Universe. We beings composed of atoms are the oddball exceptions in the Empty Reality that encompasses us.


    • yalensis says:

      Bukko, if you ever write a book, please call it “The Flying Walrus Howls For Carl Solomon!”

      Then it would read sort of like a dystopian Kerouac intermingled with a slightly more upbeat Ginsberg rant.
      I especially like that philosophical bit about us being atoms just floating around in the Empty Reality.

      “But we are hunks of atoms who THINK, dammit!” [Shout that in the voice of William Shatner’s Captain Kirk.]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s