Putin reshuffles top officials, appoints new head of space agency

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin shuffled his top civil servants on Friday, appointing a new head of the state space company and giving sweeping new powers to one of his top ministers.

Putin has sacked Dmitry Rogozin as head of the state-controlled space agency Roscosmos, which oversees the country’s space program and includes rocket factories, launch facilities and many other assets.

He replaced Rogozin with Yuri Borisov, a deputy prime minister who was in charge of the arms industries. Borisov’s duties were given to Denis Manturov, the Minister of Industry and Trade who also received the rank of Deputy Prime Minister.

Manturov has served as minister since 2012 and is reportedly favored by Putin, accompanying the Russian president on most trips abroad and domestically.

The reshuffle follows predictions of Borisov’s removal from the post he held for four years amid reported flaws and shortcomings in Russian weapons programs highlighted by military action in Ukraine.

Borisov acknowledged some of the shortcomings in recent comments, saying military industries should have been more active in drone development and production.

PHOTOS: Putin reshuffles top officials, appoints new space agency chief

“I think we were late with the deployment of the drones,” he said in an interview on state television.

Borisov’s appointment to the important post of head of Roscosmos indicates that he has not completely fallen out of favor despite problems with the supply of weapons.

There was no immediate word on a new job for Rogozin, who had served as head of Roscosmos since 2018 and gained notoriety for his violent anti-Western rhetoric.

In the early 2000s, Rogozin led a nationalist party, gaining notoriety for his anti-migrant stance, and later served as Moscow’s envoy to NATO. In 2011, he was appointed Deputy Prime Minister for Armaments and Space Industries, a position he held before Putin appointed him head of Roscosmos.

Some Russian media have speculated that Rogozin still retains Putin’s favor and could be given a new senior position to oversee Moscow-controlled territories in eastern and southern Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Tass news agency that there were no complaints about Rogozin’s performance as head of Roscosmos, adding without further details that Rogozin would receive a new post. .

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