Progress Сorruption

And Jupiter is ours, and Europe is ours

The Special Economic Zone (SEZ) “Alabuga”, which has already hit the pages of all the world’s media this year with a series of high-profile scandals, this time swung at the solar system and acted as a collective Ostap Bender for all the money — namely 491 trillion rubles. The head of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov signed the so-called “a promising 25-year development plan” for the inclusion of 4 satellites of Jupiter in the special economic zone “Alabuga”.The second signatory (and intended investor) was the President and Chairman of the Board of VTB Bank Andrey Kostin. Astrophysicists interviewed by T-invariant and the leadership of the Space Council of the Russian Academy of Sciences compared the project with the gravitsappa on the Yubileiny satellite (a loud anti-scientific failure of Roscosmos from 2008). There are no projects related to Jupiter in the Federal Space Program of the Russian Federation until 2036.

At first glance, the above seems to be an anecdote or a plot from a satirical news site IA “Panorama” (this is how the experts interviewed by T-invariant initially reacted), however, the signing of these agreements really passed on a grand scale, customary in the culture of the Republic of Tatarstan, in October 2023. In response to the scientists’ comments, the management of the SEZ issued a statement in the style of the head of Chechnya R.A. Kadyrov.


Gas giant planets have a huge number of satellites. Jupiter has at least 69 of them. The four largest are called Galilean. They can be seen even with a small telescope. Io is known for its volcanoes, Europa for its hypothetical ocean below the surface, and Ganymede and Callisto for their size.

SEZ “Alabuga” against Vladimir Surdin

The event amazed even the republican media, and the astrophysicists involved as commentators were unable to assess the event from the point of view of aerospace prospects and commented the event is more like psychotherapists. In response, the SEZ “Alabuga”responded with a statement, some fragments of which were more in the style of public communication by R.A. Kadyrov. Moreover, the organization chose as the addressee of its response one of the most famous popularizers of space, Vladimir Surdin. The long-winded response from the SEZ begins with rudeness: “It’s a pity that John Kennedy forgot to ask Vladimir Surdin’s opinion  the press service of the SEZ “Alabuga” publishes an official commentary on the words of Vladimir Surdin”.

Further in their explanation to the scientist, the Tatarstan space colonizers refer to authorities they understand: “But if in 1945 Stalin and Korolev had consulted with such a Surdin, he would say: “Well… first you need to raise the balloon 10 kilometers” or “How are you going to send a person into space, because there is radiation and it’s cold…”.

The lengthy text ended with the phrase: “We invite Associate Professor Vladimir Surdin to come and make specific proposals and plans for college students at Alabuga Polytech.”

However, it is impossible to evaluate this correspondence discussion between astronomer Vladimir Surdin and the pioneers of deep space exploration of the Republic of Tatarstan without the context in which the once promising Alabuga SEZ is now developing.

Pyramid for assemblers of Iranian drones

Tatar leaders timed the start of preparations for the colonization of the environs of Jupiter to coincide with the opening of the new headquarters of the Alabuga Polytechnic College ” The citadel of future aerospace research, biotech and the ambitions of the leadership of the Republic of Tatarstan in local media materials presented.

like an Egyptian pyramid, although in the photograph it rather resembles a giant ladder from a playground or a figure made from scrap Lego.

The headquarters has 18 floors, according to local media, the construction cost is 7 billion rubles, about 2 thousand people will be able to live and work in the building. At the same time, the multi-level nature of the building also has a conceptual basis. The higher a college student climbs in the internal grade, the higher he will be able to settle. It must be said that the whole life of college students is imbued with this army spirit of “make it or leave it.”

Recall that this year both the Alabuga SEZ and specifically the Alabuga Polytech College in the world media due to the fact that they became the base for the assembly of Iranian Shahed combat drones (they play a particularly deadly role in the full-scale war in Ukraine).

Journalists of the independent regional publication “Protocol” found that these drones are kamikazes are also being gathered by students of the Alabuga Polytech College, many of whom are minors. The “Protocol” also described the working conditions of teenagers: an unregulated work schedule, enslaving monetary conditions of a tripartite agreement (parents-student-college) and semi-fascist inclinations of management at all levels. In response to the publications, the college administration published 9 videos, in which students with a dejected look explain that by collecting drones, they want to “make their contribution” and talk about a “difficult historical moment” for the Russian Federation. The young people in the video do not hide the fact that they are 16-17 years old and that they work 12 or more hours a day, which is prohibited by the Labor Code of the Russian Federation. But it seems that this barrier may soon disappear.

InOctober 2023, after the presentation of colonization plans, Committee of the State Council of Tatarstan on Social Policy prepared draft amendments to Art. 265 Labor Code. Deputies want to allow the use of the labor of teenagers aged 16 to 18 years “in jobs with harmful and (or) dangerous working conditions under a fixed-term employment contract for practical training in the relevant profession.” The project also provides for full-fledged employment of minors at the enterprises where they completed their internships after receiving secondary vocational education.

The second notable anti-crisis PR step of Alabuga was paintball. It had previously played an important role in the lives of college students, but after publication, social networks became almost entirely devoted to patriotic paintball competitions between students. (up to 100 posts per week). One of the posts reads like this: “Today our college students will again find themselves at the Stalingrad Operation Uranus.” (links 1 and 2). As “Protocol” wrote, the results of each fighter in paintball also affect his position in the local hierarchy.

Stalin, pharaoh, jacuzzi

But Alabuga is not alive by paintball alone. With the opening of headquarters, the appeal of going to college and working in the SEZ is being emphasized in more ways. So, a statue of Joseph Stalin was installed in the building. But local architects of public spaces understand that a statue of the odious leader will no longer surprise anyone in the Russian Federation. Therefore, they included the Generalissimo in a very original symbolic context.

There are 6 more characters in the row of statues: former Prime Minister of Singapore, one of the creators of the Singapore “economic miracle” Lee Kuan Yew; Chinese politician Deng Xiaoping; one of the founding fathers of the United States, Alexander Hamilton; English physician, creator of the smallpox vaccine Edward Jenner; Roman Emperor Trajan and Pharaoh Amenemhat III .

Here is another example of the local motivation of students: near the Stalin sculpture there is a pedestal where successful in paintball and During the assembly of “martyrs”, a student can stand up, take a photo and, apparently, also feel like a leader.

The floor and number of neighbors students have depends on their position. While they are trainees, they live on the first floors, then, with career growth, they will move higher and higher, and there will be fewer and fewer neighbors in the apartment. A spa with a jacuzzi will be waiting for them at the top.

How do you like this, Elon Musk? Elon Musk did not react

The presentation of the new “star city” and its future missions also had PR preparation carried out by the administration Tatarstan.The weak point of Russian officials, space chiefs and everyone related to large state events isapplicationto Elon Musk.

Shortly before the presentation in Hathorne, California, USA, opposite the Space X office, the Alabuga SEZ placed a billboard. How writes local publication Tatar-inform, “the billionaire was reminded that it is in the veins of Russian scientists that the blood of Sergei Korolev flows.” The text on the banner read: “Elon Musk, what about the moons of Jupiter? The countdown begins on October 1st. Go!” There was also a QR code on the shield  the link contains a video with Alabuga investment projects on Jupiter.

It should be noted that this is not the first time that the Alabuga SEZ has placed its billboard in iconic places in the United States. So, earlier their message appeared perhaps at the most expensive advertising point on the planet  “in the very heart of New York there are just a few words  “It’s time to go home.” Naturally, there was no reaction from Musk to his attempt to “compare missions.” After the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he stopped somehow expressing himself publicly in response to constant attempts to communicate with him by representatives of the Russian Federation (which he often indulged in before (” The trampoline is working” ) and even somehow speaked at the meeting of the Knowledge Society in the format of online participation).

Colonization of Jupiter’s satellites, human life extension to 700 years, human cloning

We have specifically written down the necessary context in order to preface the statement with which its general director Timur Shagivaleev opened a new program for the development of the Alabuga SEZ to the world, the Tatarstan government and the main state banker of the Russian Federation.

“Please give us strategic guidelines for the 25 years ahead. Human civilization will become multiplanetary, biotech will ensure a life expectancy of at least 700 years, the Alabuga SEZ will become the number one special economic zone in the solar system,” said Shagivaleev. (Quote from RBC)

According to the plan, on Jupiter’s satellite Europa “Alabuga” proposes to create an agricultural cluster of agricultural products to supply neighboring clusters. Investments in this project in the SEZ are stated at 114 trillion rubles, writes RBC. (For comparison: total budget revenues of the Russian Federation in 2022 amounted to about 28 trillion rubles  T-invariant) .
On Io, according to the long-term plan for the development of a special economic zone, a cluster for the development of heavy industry will be formed: 121 trillion rubles. investment.

The colonization of Jupiter’s satellite Callisto involves, as indicated in the presentation, the development of biotechnologies for human cloning, genome editing and human life extension to 700 years. Investments – 176 trillion rubles.

The authors of the strategic development plan placed space hostels and infrastructure on the Jupiter satellite Ganymede. The total investment in this project is 80 trillion rubles.

And the culmination of the strategy: Tatar innovators promise to create 40 million jobs.

Reactions of space institutes: “Nothing to do with it”

Astrophysicist Vladimir Surdin, in a comment to T-invariant, stated that he does not plan to respond to boorish statements and not very polite invitations. “Since Alabuga addressed me personally for the first time in its publication, I will follow Musk’s example: I will not respond,” he noted.

“Nothing new. Spotlighting. It looks like a “gravicappa” (inertia, flying on the Yubileiny satellite). Everything would be fine if they didn’t ask the state for a lot of money for this “project,” said Surdin.

Vladimir Surdin at a popular science lecture in the capital of Tatarstan. Photo: KFU media center

All leading space research institutes interviewed by T-invariant hastened to disown any participation, assessment or examination of the plans of the Alabuga SEZ for the conquest of Jupiter’s satellites. “It has nothing to do with it,” said academician Lev Zeleny, scientific director of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and head of the Space Council of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

“I haven’t read it and won’t waste my time. There are no expeditions to Jupiter in the federal space program until 2036. By the way, Saturn’s moon Titan is full of methane…” Lev Zeleny told T-invariant.

Oleg Korablev, a Russian physicist, specialist in the field of space instrumentation and planetary research from the Institute of Space Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, also reacted with humor: “Very interesting. The agricultural cluster and life extension to 700 years look especially touching.”

“We seriously considered a research flight to Europe as part of research in the 2010s. The radiation load on Europa is such that the most resistant machine gun will withstand no more than 1 month. On Io the situation is much worse. Temperatures on the satellites are approximately –160 °C, there is no atmosphere. Therefore, the practical aspects of “development” on a scale of 25 years look like complete fantasy,” Oleg Korablev told T-invariant.

The Commission for Combating Pseudoscience under the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences considered a comparison of the initiatives of the Alabuga SEZ with “New Vasyuki” “quite appropriate.”

“The prospects are ZERO. I completely agree with all the comments of Vladimir Surdin. I consider the main danger of the existence of such “development plans” to be the existence of a system for evaluating them, which aims to squander the budget under plausible pretexts,” said Academician Evgeny Alexandrov, Chairman of the RAS Commission on Pseudoscience.

For the sake of hype

T-invariant’s interlocutors describe the pragmatic prerequisites for the emergence of such projects only anonymously.

“For the current LOMs, what Skolkovo is with “private astronautics”, what Alabuga is with humbleniya system of Jupiter  approximately the same thing, they do not see the difference. In the current situation there is simply “more hell”, that’s all. All more or less thinking people understand that all innovation will for a long time be limited to R&D for the Ministry of Defense with “colored” money, and from the point of view of meaningless conversations, in my opinion, the same Russian lunar program has already come very close to the plan for the economic development of the Jupiter system.” “, said one of T-invariant’s interlocutors, who previously worked in the industry.

Political scientist Evgeniy Minchenko in the comment Tatarstan edition of Business Online assesses Alabuga’s plans as “hype”: “People are having fun, there is money.”

He notes that it was no coincidence that the presentation of Alabuga’s space plans took place during the visit of the Chairman of the Board of VTB Bank Andrey Kostin, who allocated a loan of 53 billion rubles for current SEZ projects.

T-invariant it was not possible to obtain comments from the SEZ “Alabuga” or “Alabuga-Polytechnic”. The head of the SEZ PR service, Dania Utalieva, received a request from our publication in Telegram on October 20. The messages are listed as read (Utalieva’s account has been verified: over the past year and a half, she has repeatedly contacted many million-plus popular science bloggers for “positive integrations” from this account, but received a number of refusals due to the anti-war position of the bloggers).

Requests for comments sent to the official email addresses of the press service of the Alabuga SEZ also remained unanswered.

Text: Evgeniy Nasyrov

Photos: Kazan First / Tatar-inform /rais / KFU media portal


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