Russian Directors Forced to Resign from UK Spaceport Consortium

9th May 2022
Russian Directors Forced to Resign from UK Spaceport Consortium

Scotland’s space sector bids farewell to Russian directors as more Russian nationals resign from the UK spaceport consortium. Last month, Western Isles Council started reviewing Commercial Space Technologies (CST) in an attempt to establish its ties with the Russian government. The investigation followed the official Scottish government request, urging all Scottish space businesses to sever ties with Russia after its President Vladimir Putin openly invaded Ukraine.

Directors Resigning from Scottish Space Jobs

Following the results of the investigation, Nina Pestmal had to resign her job as one of the CST board directors. Ms Pestmal is registered in Moscow, and even though she has occupied the position since 1996, the changing climate in Scotland’s space sector put an end to this collaboration.

Pestmal also served as a director of an associated business with a similar name, Commercial Space Technologies (Services) Ltd, since 1998 and had to resign this position as well. One more Moscow national, Irene Silantieva resigned from CSTS Ltd’s board of directors on 16th March.

Further Plans for UK Spaceport Development

CST is only one of the companies involved in the UK spaceport consortium responsible for a launch site in North Uist. Spaceport developer Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), local authority Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, and defence company QinetiQ are also members of the same Scottish space consortium.

CST describes itself as a consultancy firm opened in 1983 on private funds made from commercial profits. It has offices in London and Moscow, and CST has been claiming to have Russian speaking staff and a ‘friendly working relationship’ with Russian colleagues. At first, Scotland’s space sector initiative to sever ties with the Russian Federation raised some objections, but the public outrage of the open military invasion initiated in Moscow outweighed it.

So far, CST has made no official comment on its director’s resignation. However, another director, Alan Webb, revealed that CST would be looking for advice from the UK government for managing further business operations in light of the space sanctions. Webb also added that CST remains a 100% privately-funded company with lots of international clients – including clients from Ukraine.

So, while it is not clear what awaits Russian-based professionals in changing Scotland’s space sector, the construction of the UK spaceport should proceed as planned.

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