Vyacheslav Bohuslayev, long-time president and head engineer of Ukrainian engine giant Motor Sich, has had Russian citizenship since 2000. As an MP, Bohuslaev was a member of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on National Security and Defense and had access to state secrets in Ukraine, journalists from the Skhemy project (part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) reported on 24 October.
When asked about Bohuslayev's Russian citizenship, Ruslan Pidorich, Director of Public Relations at Motor Sich, said that he did not know anything about it and that it was “the first time he had heard about it.”
An anonymous source close to the Zaporizhzhia regional administration told The Insider that Bohuslayev has spent his entire life “on a first-name basis with any Ukrainian president,” as he managed to maintain a strategically important industry for the country.
“Bohuslayev entered any Ukrainian president’s office without knocking – it doesn't matter which president we’re talking about. [He was able to do that] as he managed to preserve a strategically important industry for Ukraine. We’re not talking about how he made his first million here – it’s clear that there were some irregularities in the initial period when the enterprise was privatized.
His company's engines were used to fly 80% of helicopters in 3rd world countries, CIS countries, and so on. He was a ‘red director’ through and through, he always took care of his employees. The whole district of Zaporizhzhia was under him, about 20 thousand people worked at the plant, plus the affiliated enterprises. Everyone always lived well and had good salaries. He traditionally went to the Verkhovna Rada, running from his district in Zaporizhzhia’s Shevchenko district. I don’t know whether he organized the supply or not. But we can blame if not half of Ukrainian business, then a very large part of it, still affiliated with the Russian economy in one way or another.
For Zaporizhzhia, Motor Sich is a budget-forming enterprise with very big assets. Unlike other companies, they didn’t sell off their social assets – sanatoriums, rest homes and so on. In other words, their workers feel well. They always pay their taxes. Bohuslayev is respected in the city, where he’s an honorary citizen.”
The source recalled that the Ukrainian authorities previously stopped an attempt to sell Motor Sich to China. In 2016, Chinese investors purchased 56% of the shares of Motor Sich PJSC, and submitted documents on the transaction for approval to the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine in August 2019.
Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) seized these shares, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky enacted a decision of the National Security and Defense Council on January 28, 2021 on sanctions against the Chinese company Skyrizon and its key shareholder, Wang Jin, a Chinese citizen.
In 2018, Motor Sich claimed that it had lost control over the Snizhne Machine-Building Plant, which produced blades – a key part for helicopter, attack aircraft and civilian engine turbines. Bohuslayev then claimed that the plant wasn’t lost, but instead transferred to external management. The Ukrainian government banned the import of components from the occupied territory of Donbas. A Radio Donbas.Realii source claimed that during the most active phase of the fighting, Russian military equipment was towed to the Snizhne Machine-Building Plant for repairs. Numerous media outlets reported that the plant worked for the Russian defense aviation industry back in 2014. According to one of the employees, a number of unique molds which determine the accuracy of blade production were taken from the plant, along with the finished blades themselves. The parts were then sent to St. Petersburg, according to the employee.
The SBU detained Bohuslayev on October 23 on suspicion of treason. The head of Motor Sich's foreign economic activities department was detained along with him. The SBU press service noted that after the Russian invasion, Bohuslayev continued to supply Russia with engines and other parts for attack helicopters. According to the investigation, the detainees acted in collusion with representatives of the Russian Rostec Corporation – one of the main manufacturers of weapons for the Russian army.
The Motor Sich plant is one of the world's leading manufacturers of gas turbine engines for airplanes and helicopters, as well as industrial gas turbines. The plant manufactured engines for Russian helicopters and “An” airplanes up until 2014.
Vyacheslav Bohuslayev holds the title of “Hero of Ukraine” and one of the richest people in the country. Motor Sich has been under his control for decades: Bohuslayev ran the plant back in the Soviet era, and was called Ukraine’s last “red director” – a member of the Soviet managerial elite that managed to maintain control of his enterprise after the fall of the USSR. Bohuslayev is considered to be one of the most famous and influential politicians in Zaporizhzhia – he was elected to the Verkhovna Rada from the “Party of Regions” three times, while running as a self-nominated candidate in 2014.