Dmitry Rogozin, Russian deputy prime minister in charge of space and defense, strongly condemned the mutual accusations exchanged by the Russian space agency and a space industry contractor, his spokeswoman said.
Russian Space Agency Roscosmos and the state-financed space industry contractor Russian Space Systems accused each other on Wednesday of financial and organizational mismanagement.
“Dmitry Rogozin is extremely critical about the scandal around Roscosmos. He categorically prohibited the management and employees of subordinate structures to publicly discuss this issue,” the deputy premier’s spokeswoman Lidiya Mikhailova said.
She quoted Rogozin as saying that “such public disagreements and strong accusations may do significant damage to the Russian space industry.”
On Wednesday a letter was posted on the Russian Space Systems website, proposing that Popovkin leave his post. The letter, signed by Russian Space Systems deputy head Ivan Golub, accused the Roscosmos chief of “illegal audits” and “creating uncontrolled structures.” It was later removed from the website on the grounds that it was intended for internal use and was released by a mistake.
The letter triggered an angry reaction from the Russian space agency. A spokesman said those who wrote it tried to “excuse themselves,” while Popovkin’s spokeswoman Anna Vedishcheva said it was a part of a “media provocation” against her boss.
The Russian Space Systems accusations apparently come as a response to Popovkin’s comments on Monday. The official accused “space industry contractors” of disseminating false rumors about him because they were dissatisfied with his attempt to reform the industry.
Popovkin was hospitalized earlier this month because of exhaustion caused by a hectic schedule and frequent jet lags, according to official statements. Some media reported it was due to injuries sustained in a brawl.