Dmitry Rogozin may be in trouble in Russia

Dmitry Rogozin may be in trouble in Russia

Dmitry Rogozin, second from the left, has been active in the Donbas region of Ukraine.
Enlarge / Dmitry Rogozin, second from the left, has been active in the Donbas region of Ukraine.

Dmitry Rogozin/Telegram

It’s been almost five months since Dmitry Rogozin had been fired as director general of Roscosmos, Russia’s state-owned aerospace company. Later a Russian space officer recognized that Rogozin was removed from this high-profile post to ease tensions with NASA and other partners on the International Space Station. It has worked, as international spaceflight relations have improved.

Since his resignation, there has been speculation that Rogozin could take some sort of leadership position in the Russian-occupied territories of eastern Ukraine. However, this has yet to happen, so Rogozin proclaimed himself the head of the inspection group “Tsar’s Wolves” of volunteers. Rogozin’s stated goal was to test and deliver the advanced weapons technology needed by Russian forces to win the war.

As part of his efforts, Rogozin has posted images and statements on his Telegram account from the Donbas region of Ukraine, visiting with troops. To look good – and, knowing Rogozin, will probably build his image as a “tough guy” – Rogozin has also posted images of himself dressed as a soldier. However, at times Rogozin’s actions seemed more like cosplay than anything else, and some Russians (as well as prominent former NASA astronauts) have mocked the Russian politician who was once close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Recently, Russians have been tearing apart these images of Rogozin because they show him wearing more expensive equipment than is available to Russian troops. In fact, some of its equipment is made in NATO countries, which Russia opposes.

Among Rogozin’s new critics is none other than Yevgeny Prigozhin, a man known as “Putin’s chief”, one of the most dangerous people in Russia. Prigozhin has seen his profile rise significantly this year as Putin has turned to him to help turn the tide of a failing war effort in Ukraine. In this role, Prigozhin actually has carte blanche to act within Russia and Ukraine.

Prigozhin heads an organization called the Wagner Group, which has created mercenary groups to support Russian troops in eastern Ukraine. While doing so, Prigozhin has relentlessly criticized Russian defense officials who led the early stages of the war. From the Russian Military General Staff, he said in October“All these bastards should be sent to the front barefoot with only a submachine gun.”

Now Prigozhin has learned of Rogozin’s travels near the front lines. Prigozhin said Rogozin’s actions in Ukraine are clearly being done for public relations purposes, rather than advancing Russia’s war effort. Moreover, he said, Wagner Group soldiers are well trained to identify those dressed in NATO clothing. They are willing to kill such people on the spot.

Prigozhin also made a free attempt at the quality of Russian missiles and satellites during Rogozin’s tenure at Roscosmos, which lasted from May 2018 to July 2022, and saw several high-profile failures.

Rogozin has yet to respond to the criticism, at least publicly.

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