NASA Postpones Rogozin Visit to U.S. Amid Criticism

Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)

NASA has postponed a planned visit by Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin amid sharp criticism in Washington over the sanctioned Russian official.

“NASA has informed the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, that the proposed visit of Roscosmos Director General, Dr. Dmitry Rogozin, currently planned for February 2019 will need to be postponed. A new date for the visit has not been identified,” the space agency said in a statement.

The Roscosmos head was to have conferred with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and other agency officials. He was also set to visit Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Rogozin, who previously served as deputy prime minister, is one of a number of high-ranking Russian officials under U.S. sanctions over the nation’s invasion  and annexation of part of Ukraine. He requires a waiver to travel to the United States.

The decision came amid growing criticism from Capitol Hill of the Trump Administration’s decision to grant Rogozin permission to visit.

Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote in a letter to Bridenstine that allowing Rogozin to visit would “further undermine the Trump Administration’s limited credibility on Russia policy.”

Such a waiver would be a grave mistake.  Mr. Rogozin is on our sanctions list for a reason.  On March 17, 2014, the Obama administration under Executive Orders 13660 and 13661 determined “that the actions and policies of the Russian government with respect to Ukraine -– including through the deployment of Russian military forces in the Crimea region of Ukraine –- undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets.” 

As Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation at the time, Mr. Rogozin was sanctioned for his actions contributing to the Russian government attack on Ukraine.  In solidarity, the European Union also sanctioned Mr. Rogozin for his actions and reportedly denied him entry into the EU on two separate occasions. As far as I know, Mr. Rogozin has done nothing since that time that would justify removal from the SDN list by the Treasury Department. 

In the event that the administration waives the visa ban and allows Mr. Rogozin to travel to the United States, I plan to introduce a resolution of disapproval of such action under the Russia Review Act title of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (PL 115-44).   Given Mr. Rogozin’s egregious behavior over the years, I would expect that such a resolution would pass with broad bipartisan support. 

The decision to postpone the visit will presumably head off Congressional action for the time being.