Staunton, May 25 – The appointment of Dmitry Rogozin, who had been a deputy prime minister, to head Roskosmos, has gotten so mixed up with an American news agency report about the failure of a launch of a missile Vladimir Putin had invested his prestige in that the larger picture has been lost sight of.
And that larger picture is this: Rogozin is a fading politician, and the agency he has been named to head is failing to the point that many Russian commentators speak about it as a “dying” institution headed toward a complete demise (ria.ru/analytics/20180525/1521350957.html and lenta.ru/articles/2018/05/21/cosmos/
rbc.ru/politics/24/05/2018/5b05adbe9a7947eca126fa9d?from=main, https://lenta.ru/articles/2018/05/21/cosmos/ and rurik.us/archives/9689).
The American media reported about a single missile failure in a test flight (cnbc.com/2018/05/21/russian-missile-with-unlimited-range-crashed-after-only-22-miles.html), but in fact there have been at least four unsuccessful missile tests in recent weeks (graniru.org/War/Arms/Nukes/m.270161.html).
The new space facility in the Russian Far East isn’t ready, the victim of corruption and mismanagement, even as Moscow pulls out of its former center at Baikonur in Kazakhstan (ura.news/news/1052335407 and newsland.com/community/4765/content/putin-prikazal-pereselit-s-baikonura-150-ofitserov-s-semiami-eto-ne-nachalo-begstva/6348458).
And as a result of both sanctions and American investment at home, Russia is only months away from losing its only winning card in this sector: the ability to send astronauts and cosmonauts to the international space station (newsland.com/community/8223/content/rossiia-priznala-poteriu-monopolii-v-pilotiruemoi-kosmonavtike/6349631
Rogozin has thus been given an Augean stables to clean out. If he succeeds, he will likely resume a more successful political career. But if as more likely he fails, both his career and Russian space aspirations are likely to be put on hold for a long time to come.