Goal: The modernization of the ailing, partly technologically very backward Russian armaments industry! According to investigators and intelligence services, Russian secret services are also deliberately active on German soil themselves.
Because: “Not much is possible without Western technology,” a former German intelligence chief told BILD. Another: “Russia has long known no borders.”
Specifically, according to BILD information, the main focus is on modernizing large weapon systems – including Russian missile technology, from normal cruise missiles to nuclear missiles! A German rocket researcher with excellent knowledge of Russia: “Russia’s space and rocket research has lost the connection, much of what President Vladimir Putin sells as miracle weapons is old or simply not mass-produced – or simply invented.” The crisis is over Western sanctions have been tightened after the attack on Ukraine and the robbery of Crimea.
Way out: espionage, theft, embargo trading!
The latest example: In Hamburg – largely unnoticed by the public – at the beginning of March, the state security chamber responsible for espionage convicted two southern German businessmen. Alexander Schweigert (41, comes from Kazakhstan; 3 years imprisonment, violation of foreign trade law) and his helper Alexander Ott (40, comes from Kyrgyzstan; 2 years imprisonment, money laundering). Both have supplied machine tools and chemicals to Moscow. Purpose: to produce rocket fuel!
Since the attack on Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea in 2014, such civilly and militarily usable goods and embargo are not allowed to be exported to Russia! Specifically, it was about 15 machine tools (worth 8 million euros) that were smuggled between 2015 and 2018 via front companies, some via the port of Lübeck / Travemünde, to a Russian armaments factory in Yekaterinburg in Siberia. Ott had been approached and recruited in Moscow by a Russian secret service agent and brokered the embargo business. Schweigert was arrested on February 1, 2020 in Augsburg and Ott on June 2 in Munich.
The Federal Prosecutor General and the Hamburg Higher Regional Court are convinced that the entire action was orchestrated by Russian agents in Germany: the idea, front companies and the handling of the business are solely due to the initiative and operation of the Russian intelligence service. According to the Federal Prosecutor General, who conducted the investigation, Alexander Schweigert “acted professionally and for the secret service of a foreign power”.
Security services see the case as a prime example of how state and semi-state Russian authorities concealed embargo goods and so-called dual-use goods (civil and military use) in Germany – and organize the embargo trade from German soil: During the Hamburg process, see above an intelligence agent told BILD, for the first time in recent court proceedings it was established on record that “Russian intelligence services have become active as masterminders in the procurement in the background on German soil”.
In January of last year, the 71-year-old entrepreneur Vladimir Dekanov, managing director of the company SPA Sonderprojekte from Keltern-Ellmerdingen (BaWü), was convicted in Hamburg. He is said to have smuggled 4.5 kilograms of the highly dangerous chemical decaborane into Russia as normal aircraft luggage. Dekanov is also said to have smuggled special presses. Purpose of the chemical and presses: Manufacture of rocket fuel and rocket parts!
Also in this case against investigators from targeted actions by Russian intelligence services. An investigator in this case: “We assume that Russian services specifically address Russian and Russian-German entrepreneurs and instruct them to use their business contacts to procure export-restricted goods from the West.”
Since 2018, according to high-ranking Western intelligence officials, increased efforts by the Russians have been registered “to acquire critical components and products in Germany and other Western countries and to undermine existing export controls”.
And Russia is increasingly breaking new ground: entire companies are to be bought through oligarchs and stakes in western companies! Similar to what China has been doing for years! A high-ranking German ex-secret service agent describes the target companies for such takeovers as follows: “This applies to companies with know-how for the production of strategically important armaments.” As examples, he cites “modern conventional weapon systems, but above all chemical weapons and delivery systems for nuclear weapons.”
The alarm bells are currently ringing among German and above all US intelligence services because of the planned takeover of the Rheinfelden aluminum works (BaWü, 240 employees, sales of EUR 177 million) by Russian oligarchs. The aluminum works are to be sold to the Russian group RUSAL from the insolvency proceedings. RUSAL belongs to the Kremlin oligarchs Oleg Deripaska and Viktor Wechselberg. Both are on US sanctions lists, their US assets are frozen!
The Aluwerke Rheinfelden are one of the world’s leading patent holders (70 patents) for special alloys and weight-reduced armor made of aluminum, which is harder than steel. Technology and engineering that Russia urgently needs to modernize its military technology. The patents from Rheinfelden are particularly valuable for missile programs. RUSAL is one of THE suppliers for the Russian arms industry. Experts fear that strategically important German know-how could be used for the Russian arms industry in the future.
The takeover of the Aluwerke in Rheinfelden by the Kremlin oligarchs from RUSAL is about to be completed – only the Federal Ministry of Economics has yet to approve the takeover.
But in the meantime an investor alliance has formed around the EuroAtlantic Group from Germany to take over the Aluwerke. Objective: to prevent the patents from being sold off to Russia. One of the participants on BILD: If the patents go to Russia, then the Kremlin can save part of its espionage and smuggling campaigns because we delivered them to it with a state seal! “
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Moscow reaching companies armaments technology Germany Politics