Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s deputy prime minister in charge of space and defense, says “public disagreements and strong accusations” between the federal space agency, Roscosmos, and a government-financed contractor “may do significant damage to the Russian space industry” and must stop, the state-owned RIA Novosti news agency reports.

On March 19, Roscosmos chief Vladimir Popovkin said “space industry contractors” had disseminated false rumors about him because they opposed his reform efforts. Two days later, a letter posted on the website of contractor Russian Space Systems accused Popovkin of “illegal audits” and “creating uncontrolled structures,” and suggested that he resign. The letter, which the company said was released by mistake, triggered a Roscosmos response that company officials were attempting to “excuse themselves” and that it was a part of a “media provocation” against Popovkin.

Lidiya Mikhailova, spokeswoman for Rogozin, said the deputy prime minister was “extremely critical about the scandal around Roscosmos. He categorically prohibited the management and employees of subordinate structures to publicly discuss this issue.”

READ IT AT: [RIA Novosti]