Executive Intelligence Review


U.S. Establishment in Rug-Chewing Fit over Visit of Russian Space Agency Head Rogozin

Jan. 1, 2019 (EIRNS)—On New Year’s Day, Politico ran a major attack on NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine’s invitation for Roscosmos Director Dmitry Rogozin to visit the U.S. The article, headlined, “Wow: NASA Startles with Invitation to Sanctioned Russian,” is clearly designed to sabotage the visit and disrupt any rapprochement with Russia, on whose manned launches the U.S. relies.

Politico begins:

“A Trump administration official’s plan to host a sanctioned Russian nationalist in the U.S. in the coming months is raising alarms among Russia hawks in Washington.

“NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine extended an invitation for his counterpart, Dmitry Rogozin, to visit NASA headquarters in Houston in early 2019. U.S.-Russia space cooperation is nothing new. But Rogozin is no typical rocket-science technocrat. He is an ultranationalist politician with a record of stark racism and homophobia who is under American sanctions, which typically bar him from entering the U.S. over his 2014 role, as deputy prime minister, in Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.”

The article quotes Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Evelyn Farkas, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, as hyperventilating how appalling it is to waive the sanctions for Rogozin and allow him to speak at Rice University, Bridenstine’s alma mater.

NASA spokeswoman Megan Powers defended the invitation and said that planning “is still underway.” She said,

“the U.S.-Russian relationship in space dates back to the 1970s. NASA has historically invited the head of the Russian space agency to visit the United States. Following this precedent, and Administrator Bridenstine’s October visit to Russia to participate in crew launch activities to the International Space Station, NASA invited the Director-General of Roscosmos to visit NASA facilities in the United States and discuss our ongoing space-related cooperation.”

Other Russia and space experts agreed with the decision to invite Rogozin. John Logsdon, an emeritus professor at George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute is quoted, “I think this invitation reflects the ongoing success of the partnership, rather than any broader political tensions.”

The article continues with ad hominem attacks on Rogozin, his politics, and his previous roles as Russian Ambassador to NATO and Deputy Prime Minister.