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‘Talk less & do more’: Russian PM blasts leadership of country’s space agency

‘Talk less & do more’: Russian PM blasts leadership of country’s space agency
Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev has harshly criticized the top brass at the state space agency, urging them to talk less about future projects and focus on fixing outstanding issues instead.

“We should stop the project-mongering, quit blabbing about where we’ll fly to in 2030, we should work, talk less and do more,” Medvedev said on Wednesday during a meeting with the top executives of the Russian state-owned space corporation Roscosmos.

The agency was also tasked with fixing its “financial discipline” within a month, and urged to use the Ministry of Defense’s experience in this area as an example. The construction of the Vostochniy Cosmodrome remains the main issue, as it’s been marred by corruption scandals and is well behind schedule. The ultimate goal is to make the Russian space industry financially viable and lucrative, as its “competitors” are already there, Medvedev stated.

The remarks appeared to personally targeted the director of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, who attended the gathering as well. The veteran politician became the chief of Roscosmos last May. Before that, he served as deputy prime minister, overseeing the defense and space industries.

Rogozin is well known for groundbreaking statements on ambitious projects that refer to the distant future. Last November, for example, he unveiled an ambitious plan to establish a permanent base on the moon, which will be staffed by a type of sophisticated “avatar robot.” Such a base is expected to go online in the early 2030s, according to Rogozin.

Roscosmos, however, has experienced a string of setbacks over the past year. Several spaceships have crashed, including a crewed Soyuz-FG mission. Last October, a rocked malfunctioned moments after the launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, but the crew luckily escaped the near-death experience unharmed.

Apart from that, Rogozin’s term as the director of Roscosmos was marred by a large-scale scandal around a mysterious hole which was discovered on the Soyuz MS-09 spaceship, docked to the International Space Station (ISS). The discovery prompted a full-blown investigation in space, with Russian cosmonauts inspecting the faulty ship from the inside and outside. A hole was apparently drilled in the hull of the ship but culprit still remains unknown.

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Last November, Roscosmos was also branded a “champion” in the field of violations by Alexey Kudrin – the chief of Russian financial watchdog, overseeing activities of state corporations. The company, however, insists that the said violations actually date back to before the new administration took over and actually were more about bad paperwork than corruption. The chief of Roscosmos press service, on his part, accused the media of waging a whole campaign to try and portray the company as the “largest debtor and a branch of industry which munches through federal cash.”

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