Russia’s president Vladimir Putin signed a decree appointing former deputy prime minister Yury Borisov as the new director of Roscosmos, the country’s space agency.
A separate decree, signed at the same time, demoted the controversial head of the agency Dmitry Rogozin, who is rumored to be transferred to another high-status government position.
The decree was signed in the afternoon of July 15, 2022, according to the Russian government website.
Rumors of Putin reshuffling high governmental positions and demoting Borisov have been floating for a while. On July 12, 2022, Russian news website RBK reported that, according to anonymous sources within the government, Borisov was slated to be replaced by Denis Manturov, the Minister of Industry and Trade.
Borisov became the Deputy Prime Minister for Defense and Space Industry in 2018, replacing Rogozin. Before that Borisov worked as the Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade as well as the Deputy Minister of Defense.
According to several experts, quoted by Russian newspaper Business Online, Borisov’s transfer could be the result of numerous problems Russian military encountered since the start of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Manturov may have been considered as a more competent replacement for him, one expert said. In addition, Rogozin’s work at Roscosmos has been heavily criticized, and now a better position within the government may have been found for him, another expert added.
The criticism of Rogozin centered on the fact that he had no prior experience with the space industry and has been designated as persona-non-grata by many Western states Roscosmos partnered with.
Rogozin also drew controversy for his categorical and hostile statements in regard to Western space agencies and nations, as well as his fondness for arguing with and insulting various celebrities on social media.