Top government officials have undergone a major reshuffle

The top Russian official responsible for the defense industry has been reassigned to head up the space agency Roscosmos. This was part of a reshuffle ordered by President Vladimir Putin on Friday.

Yury Borisov, who previously held the office of deputy chair of the Russian government and supervised defense contracts and research, was given the space job previously held by Dmitry Rogozin.

Although it was not immediately clear what the former Roscosmos head would do next, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he would get a new assignment in the future.

Rogozin, formerly an MP, Russia’s envoy to NATO and a deputy prime minister, was tasked to take the helm at Roscosmos in May 2018. While leading the space agency, he preserved his combative style of communication.

In 2014, he suggested that NASA would have to use trampolines for manned space missions, due to freshly imposed American sanctions against Russia. The remark came during a period when the US relied on Russia to deliver and recover crew members of the International Space Station. Lately, he has been involved in a series of public spats with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

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Russia gears up for mass production of Sarmat ICBM – Roscosmos

Roscosmos marked Rogozin’s departure with a two-minute video highlighting the achievements of his four-year tenure. Those included a record-long string of over 80 successful space launches and the testing of the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, Russia’s new nuclear weapons delivery system.

Borisov is a career military officer who specializes in air defense systems and electronics. Between 2012 and 2018, he served as deputy defense minister responsible for modernization of the military, in particular the acquisition of modern weapon systems. He was promoted to deputy chair of the government to replace the outgoing Rogozin.

Another order issued by Putin on Friday was to raise the rank of the office of Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov, who will now be deputy prime minister while keeping his ministerial portfolio.

Manturov, a key person in the Russian government’s effort to mitigate the damage caused by Western trade restrictions, has been charged with finding or creating alternative sources for crucial materials and parts required by the Russian economy.

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