Former Russian arms chief Rogozin to head Roscosmos space corporation

The former Russian deputy PM in charge of defense, Dmitry Rogozin, has accepted Vladimir Putin’s nomination to head the state space corporation Roscosmos.

The president made the proposal to Rogozin at a personal meeting that took place on Thursday, RIA Novosti reported. “I will do everything possible and necessary to live up to your trust,” the agency quoted Rogozin as saying during the meeting.

“You should look into strengthening the team and make sure that this branch of industry is headed by people who know all the workings. They must be good specialists, first-class scientists and organizers,” Putin noted.

Rumors about Rogozin’s upcoming appointment to the post were circulating in Russia since the beginning of this week. Sources also said that the previous director of Roscosmos, Igor Komarov, could be transferred to a high post in the Russian state weapons producer Rostec.

Sources also revealed plans to make the Roscosmos corporation a “curator” of two independent rocket-building enterprises ‘Almaz-Antey’ and ‘Tactical Rocket-propelled Weapons.’ They emphasized that the operation would not be a full merger, with Roscosmos getting only operational control over the two companies.

Rogozin is one of the more experienced Russian politicians who used to sit in the lower house of parliament and head his own political party, The Congress of Russian Communities. However, he switched to government work and over the past seven years was deputy prime minister in charge of the defense industry.

During the latest reappointment of the government, which took place immediately after Putin was sworn in as president for a new term, Rogozin was dismissed from the position of deputy PM and replaced with Dmitry Borisov – former deputy defense minister with extensive experience in weapons production.

At the same time, Rogozin is not entirely new to the Roscosmos State Corporation as it was created on his initiative in 2015 out of the state agency that bore the same name. Roscosmos manages the space center in the town of Korolyov near Moscow and all three Russian launch sites – the Baikonur (which is being rented from Kazakhstan), Vostochny  and Plesetsk (The first state test launching site of the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation). The launches from these sites are made both for Russian military purposes, for civilian use and as part of commercial cooperation with foreign nations.

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