Backlash as Russia’s former space chief makes repeated racist remarks on X

The former head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, compared US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin to a gorilla on Sunday, before posting further racist anti-Ukrainian comments on Monday.

Rogozin’s original post on X consisted of a photo of Austin, who is African-American, standing next to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and a black and white photo of a gorilla captured by Pygmies with the caption “before his illness, Lloyd Austin loved being photographed with Pygmies”.

Screenshot of Rogozin’s tweet

Screenshot of Rogozin’s tweet

After a huge backlash and a media storm, Rogozin took to his Telegram channel to claim that his X account was a “bot”, despite it being verified since 2015 and regularly cited by media outlets. That post was later deleted, however.

On Monday Rogozin appeared to double down by posting a video of Ukrainian folk dancing edited with clips of dancing monkeys and a caption reading: “Monkeys must be called monkeys”.

Screenshot of Rogozin’s tweet

Screenshot of Rogozin’s tweet

He also posted on Russian social media site VKontakte, calling Lloyd Austin, US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz “dirty monkeys”.

“Dmitry, considering that you are a nazi, your disgusting racism is unsurprising,” wrote American astronaut Scott Kelly to Rogozin on Monday. “You’re just jealous of a real general with real combat experience, because you’re a fake soldier with fake medals.”

Historian Sergey Redchenko said that Rogozin’s “racist rants”, together with recent comments made by Russian President Vladimir Putin and former president Dmitry Medvedev provided a “psychological portrait” of Russia “as it currently is”.

The Kremlin is yet to comment on the scandal.

Editor in chief — Kirill Martynov. Terms of use. Privacy policy.