Perminov Says Retirement Up to Russian Government

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Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) Director Anatoly N. Perminov, who according to Russian media reports is being asked to step down, said a planned meeting between himself and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will take place April 15 as scheduled.

“Questions about my future service mission should be decided by the government in accordance with established procedures,” Perminov said in an April 6 statement posted on Roscosmos’ Russian-language website.

Perminov also said events commemorating the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s historic spaceflight would take place April 12 as scheduled and that he and Bolden are going ahead with a long-planned meeting on U.S.-Russian space cooperation.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov told Russian journalists in Washington April 6 that Perminov will retire soon, hinting he would step down by the end of April.

“Anatoly Nikolaevich Perminov is 66; under Russian law, state officials are not allowed to serve after this age,” Ivanov said, according to the state news agency RIA Novosti. Perminov turns 66 in June, according to Roscosmos.

Roscosmos spokesman Alexander Vorobiev, meanwhile, told a U.S. media outlet April 6 that Perminov has no plans to retire early or resign. “The current law doesn’t consider the real physical state of top officials,” Vorobiev told Bloomberg. “The Roscosmos chief can do more pull-ups than any candidate for his position who has been reported in the media.”

Those names include Oleg Frolov, the Russian Defense Ministry’s head of procurement, and Roscosmos Deputy Chief Vitaly Davyidov, according to Russian media reports.

Reached by email April 7, Vorobiev declined to confirm his statement to Bloomberg, telling Space News, “I can only repeat that Anatoly Nikolaevich would act the way [he] is ordered by the leadership of the country.”

Vorobiev referred Space News to Perminov’s statement on the Russian-language version of the Roscosmos website.

Perminov was reprimanded following the loss of three Glonass-M navigation satellites in a December launch mishap that was attributed to a fueling error.