Russian departures affect the economies of municipalities around Courou

On February 26, the Russian space agency Roscosmos suspended the launch of Soyuz from Guyana and recalled engineers. These departures put pressure on the economy of the municipality of Guyana that housed them.

With no Russian space personnel for a week, Guyana is feeling a blow and, above all, worried about the economic gap left by the suspension of the launch from the Cool Cosmodrome. On February 26, in response to European Union sanctions against Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, the Russian space agency Roscosmos suspended the launch of Soyuz from Guyana and recalled engineers.

Since then, 87 Russians have left Guyana on two return flights, February 28 and March 2. According to Cnes of the French National Center for Space Studies, a “quick, safe and monitored” departure. However, the departure leaves a blank in the municipality of Guyana that was hosting them. Three Soyuz launches were still scheduled for 2022, including one in early April.

Sinnamary Mayor Michel Ange Elemy (SE), located about 50 km from Kourou and housed part of the Guiana Space Center (CSG), said she was “worried” about the Moscow-decided withdrawal. .. However, there is no time for a “crisis” yet.

“If the Russians completely withdraw from Guyana, it will be more serious,” adds an elected representative of this commune of 3,000 inhabitants.

“Completely stopped activity”

Located 18 km from the Soyuz launch pad, Sinnamary has accepted the majority of Russians since 2011.

“Up to 250 people on launch” specifies Alexander Karam, the manager of Hotel Dufluve, the main host. With the departure of the Russians, he estimates, “99% of hotel sales have skyrocketed.”

“Because of Covid, we couldn’t cater to both Russians and the general public to avoid the risk of clusters. We were focusing on Russian customers. Our activities today. Has completely stopped, “said River Hotel management.

“Budgets, investments and planned work are upside down,” Alexandre Karam regrets, unless so far 15 employees have been threatened by losing their jobs.

According to Michel Ange Elemy, Mayor of Sinnamary, this departure also has a direct impact on the “economic appeal of the town.” The Russians “consumed Cinnamarian, went to restaurants, participated in cultural activities, and rented a car.”

“For now, we are spectators of this war and are waiting for a politician’s decision at the national level.”

The ambiguity shared by Courou’s counterpart François Ringue (DVD). He is also the president of the Savanes Communauté, an interstate highway that brings together the regions of Courou, Sinnamary, Iracoubo and Saint-Elie. Mayor of the Space City since 2014, this is the most “important crisis” he has to manage.

10% of Guyana’s work

“I am very afraid of the future,” admits François Ringuet. “CSG subcontractors are backing up hiring and there is no official feedback from Cnes or Paris,” he regrets.

“As you can imagine, it’s no longer a matter of temporary withdrawal or delay in launch. Today, the Antonov plane that was transporting Arian’s parts was destroyed. Manufacture of Vega rocket parts at the Dnipro factory in Ukraine. There are multiple effects because it was bombed. “

According to him, in this city with a population of about 30,000, space represents “9,000 to 10,000 direct and indirect jobs” and is arguably the N.1 economic asset. The savanna community is the only region in French Guiana where corporate financial resources are greater than household financial resources due to space activities.

According to INSEE, in Guyana, where half of the population lives below the poverty line, this sector accounts for 10% of employment and 15% of wealth creation. However, reduced activity at the Space Center does not affect the taxation that CSG pays between communities. “Taxation is based on the building,” specifies the mayor of Sinnamary. The apprenticeship tax should not be reduced either.