Russian astronaut denied senior position because his wife is American
Malenchenko’s wife Ekaterina Dmitrieva is an American citizen of Russian origin, while a first deputy has access to confidential information.
The security service of Roscosmos did not approve cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko for the post of first deputy head of the Cosmonaut Training Center because he has an American wife, reported RIA Novosti with reference to three sources in the rocket and space industry.
“His candidacy was not approved in the security service of Roscosmos because of his wife’s citizenship,” said one of the agency’s interlocutors.
Malenchenko’s wife Ekaterina Dmitrieva is an American citizen of Russian origin, while a first deputy has access to confidential information, all three sources said.
Cosmonaut Training Center head Pavel Vlasov confirmed the information about the difficulties they have had with Malenchenko’s approval for the position. “We’ve been talking about it for almost a year. It’s still the same, not approved,” he said.
Although Malenchenko is already listed on the Cosmonaut Training Center website as the first deputy chief for training cosmonauts, according to Vlasov, officially, Malenchenko is an adviser to the head of the CTC, however he performs first deputy’s functions.
Malenchenko himself has not yet commented on the difficulties with his appointment.
His wedding with Dmitrieva was the first ceremony held in space. In 2003, the groom was at the International Space Station and the bride was at the Mission Control Center in Houston (Texas, USA).