How Russia Cashes in on UN Corruption

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


russian-bribe-corruption

That only seems fair enough considering the role that Soviet agents played in creating the United Nations.

For much of the past decade, Russia has been engaged in a systematic effort to stymie attempts to root out corruption in U.N. spending. The Russians have pushed out U.N. reformers. They’ve defanged watchdogs. And they’ve blocked internal budget reforms aimed at saving costs.

Russia’s zeal for turning back reform has been felt most powerfully in the U.N.’s leasing of aircraft — a $1 billion a year market — that provide transport for the world’s second-largest expeditionary force.

An examination of U.N. procurement practices in the air-transport sector — drawing on dozens of interviews with U.N.-based officials and diplomats, as well as a review of internal U.N. communications and audits — suggests that Russia has enjoyed unfair advantages, including contracts that all but demand that the United Nations lease Russia’s Soviet-era aircraft.

Since the end of the Cold War, Russian entrepreneurs have turned the Soviet-era air fleet into a thriving business, supplying the U.N. and other international agencies with low-cost surplus aircraft, including Antonov transport planes and Mi-8 and Mi-26 helicopters. The low-cost aircraft — which Russian factories continue to produce — have largely dissuaded Western air operators from competing for U.N. contracts, which must go to the lowest bidder. Russian companies now account for about 75 percent of all contracts for commercial helicopters, the most lucrative segment of U.N. peacekeeping’s multibillion-dollar marketplace.

For several years, the Russian government has also dragged out negotiations in the U.N. budget committee aimed at implementing the U.N. chief’s procurement reforms, according to senior Western diplomats. Russia’s U.N. envoy, Vitaly Churkin, said his government has no objections to reforming the U.N.’s buying practices, but he sees a raft of reforms as a direct threat to Russia’s commercial interests at the United Nations.

In May, Secretary-General Ban traveled to Sochi, Russia, to meet with President Putin and his top diplomat, Lavrov, to forge a diplomatic strategy for ending the war in Syria.

But the conversation quickly segued into a discussion of Russian misgivings over procurement matters. The Russian leadership was especially alarmed by a plan to delegate authority for leasing helicopters to U.N. field missions and logistical hubs in Entebbe, Uganda, and Brindisi, Italy, a move that would limit the ability of Moscow’s powerful U.N. headquarters delegation to monitor and influence decisions.

The issue came to a head after a Russian Mi-8 slammed into a mountainside in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Following the crash, a U.N. aviation official at the U.N.’s headquarters sent an email requiring that U.N. helicopters be upgraded with a safety device — known as an enhanced ground proximity warning system — that relies on a digital terrain mapping system to detect large physical objects, including buildings and mountains, in bad weather. But a senior U.N. official subsequently overruled that decision, saying that the U.N. safety review had not yet determined whether the system would be mandatory or not.

Who needs to detect the ground anyway? In Russia, ground detects you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryan-Schmick/100000836170959 Bryan Schmick

    The cold war continues. This time, Russia is using US money to fight it.

    • LeeVonHart

      This time? How about after WWII! We supposedly not only sent them the world in equipment and resources, but us dollar printing plates. great listen at source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCiylpzR60U

      • Johnnnyboy

        While getting rid of some of the currently corrupt individuals may be of assist, the very nature of how the UN is set up invites corruption. The problem is too much isolation between those who spend and those who foot the bill. I suspect the real reason we stay in the institution, the isolation between what our government does and the voting public.

        The UN has been described as a government of governments, and it is. Hence it works to the interests of the member governments, but not necessarily in the interests of the populations of people that the governments are supposed represent. At the very least we should be funneling less money through the UN.

  • Manaphy

    Why do all of you Jews hate Russia so much?

    • UCSPanther

      Let’s see:

      -Persecution at the hands of the Russian Monarchy in its dying days
      -Persecution at the hands of “Uncle Joe” Stalin and his successors
      -Soviet support of Gamal Nasser and his allies in their quest to destroy Israel
      -Continuing Russian animosity towards Israel
      -Country of origin for the Protocols of the Elders of Zion

  • danshanteal

    Send John Bolton in. He kicked butt and took names. George Bush #43 said having Bolton at the U.N. was a sign there was a God in heaven. We have had Rice who messed her pants five times on Benghazi and now Power who decried that America wasn’t her cup of tea. Where do we get these folks? Where else? From Obie, Ax and Valerie. Do you realize how easily you can trace the three of them back to Commies and fellow travelers as their mentors? Putin must be smiling. We can’t withdraw from the U.N. but we can surely make it accountable. But not until Obie leaves office.

    • Everett Vulgamore

      i honestly dont know, but what keeps us from withdrawing from the UN?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryan-Schmick/100000836170959 Bryan Schmick

        Liberals believing in a hopey-changy good feeling without actually doing things of good. Obamacare – provide health insurance for everyone even if it drives the majority into poverty. Dodds-Franks act – protect us from the 2007 recession without actually protecting us even if it means not addressing the cause of the recession and means funneling money into the big corps. Gun Control – even if it means not addressing the issue of crazies or criminals getting access to guns. Stimulus – even if it is poorly hidden campaign kickbacks and actually harms the economy. Abortion on demand even if it devalues human life. Zimmerman-Martin – demoting rule of law, encouraging riots, and increasing the chances of real anti-black profiling all for the benefit of race baiters..

    • pfbonney

      “Send John Bolton in. He kicked butt and took names. George Bush #43 said having Bolton at the U.N. was a sign there was a God in heaven.”

      Me too.

      I remember when Bush 41 named a US Navy Admiral to run the EPA, which, among other things, watches over nuclear reactors. The left had a hissy-fit. You can’t put someone in charge to watch over the reactors that’s from the establishment! You need to place someone there that hates reactors to ensure the job is done properly!

      Bush stuck to his guns and its hard for me to believe that anyone else could have done a better job, with a number of EPA Superfund sites getting cleaned up under this admiral’s watch, as well.

      But when anti-UN John Bolton was nominated to be UN ambassador, the left sung the opposite tune, saying Bush 43 needed to put someone at the UN that believed in it. So Bush had to recess-appoint him, one of the best UN ambassadors ever.

      (My personal favorite was Patrick Moynahan, before he was a US Senator from NY. He had our enemies running for cover with his oratory and devious tactics from the get-go. You should have seen the favorable Time magazine coverage back then. And, a liberal! But all that’s another story. His autobiography about his time there, “A Dangerous Place”, definitely didn’t do him justice.)

  • herb benty

    Russia, China, Islam and associated idealogues and those self- hating(elite excluded), morally-bankrupt), er….European Union, totally out vote what has turned out to be the West. That would be Canada, America……….Australia? and muslim beleagered India. Time to shut down the U.N. and place shaped charges on it’s foundation. Our enemies will huff and puff, pontificate and begin construction of a new extremely expensive headquarters elsewhere. GOOD, let them milk another country for a while, they don’t think America is a good example anyway. We will also benefit from the deviousness not milling around us. Bring the troops home and guard the Homeland(real Homeland security).

    • pfbonney

      My thoughts exactly.

      • herb benty

        Thanks, Europe is literaly allowing itself to be taken over, Gee, I was hoping we weren’t that crazy, but what is happening has been planned for a long time. The Nobel Prize to Obama from the one-world traitors, they knew something about him we didn’t. His Nobel Prize was to con..vince US that he was full of good ideas and we should listen to him. We have been conned. What are we going to do about it?