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Russia says it will oppose Artemis Accords

My heart be still: Roscosmos head Dmitri Rogozin declared today that Russia “will not, in any case, accept any attempts to privatize the Moon.”

“It is illegal, it runs counter to international law,” Rogozin pointed out.

The Roscosmos CEO emphasized that Russia would begin the implementation of a lunar program in 2021 by launching the Luna-25 spacecraft to the Moon. Roscosmos intends to launch the Luna-26 spacecraft in 2024. After that, the Luna-27 lander will be sent to the Moon to dig up regolith and carry out research on the lunar surface.

Rogozin is doing the equivalent of a 2-year-old’s temper tantrum. Being a top-down authoritarian culture that likes to centralize power with those in charge, Russia doesn’t like Trump’s effort to regularize private enterprise and private property in space, including the administration’s new requirement that any international partner in its Artemis Moon program must agree to that effort.

Russia would rather we maintain the status quo as defined by the Outer Space Treaty, with no private property in space and everything controlled by UN bureaucrats and regulations, who are in turn controlled by the leaders from authoritarian places like Russia.

If Russia wants into Artemis, however, it looks like they will have to bend to the Trump accords. Or they will have to build their own independent space effort, competing with ours. Their problem is that their own program has been incredibly lame for the past twenty years, unable to get any new spacecraft or interplanetary mission off the ground.

Maybe the competition will help Russia, as it did in space in the 1960s. Or maybe they will simply help Biden get elected, and then all will be well! That brainless puppet will be glad to do the bidding of Russia and China, and will almost certainly dismantle Trump’s policies in favor of private enterprise.

Conscious Choice cover

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Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
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  • Ian C.

    America’s dependencies on Russia (booked seats to the ISS, engines for launchers) are on the way out. What bargaining power does Russia’s corrupt regime still have? Collaboration with China and other anti-Western competitors in space? Geopolitical moves that hurt America and Artemis partners?

    How should we deal with the Russians? Keep the door open a bit to not lose them completely to the dark side?

  • Ian C.

    Guess I can answer at least a part of my question. The Russians will use their old Soviet psyop entry points (American academia, NGOs, think tanks, and the media) to whine about privatization and inequality under turbo capitalism, environmental concerns (first we ruin the Earth, now the celestial bodies), the geopolitical consequences that might lead to wars and misery etc. to form opposition on American soil and among Artemis partners against this “neo-colonialism.”
    The Chinese have it easy, they can play the West in the same ways thanks to years of Commie subversion.

  • LocalFluff

    The West had its unique chance to turn Russia into a democracy (following the examples of Germany and Japan) during the 1990s. But totally screwed it up. With understandable Russian resentment against the West ever since. Putin has made their lives better, that is what they have experienced. It wasn’t difficult for him to fill the void that the West left for him. It would’ve been very profitable, considering today’s and the coming arms race and sanctions and the loss of the Russian market, to have given the Russians a hard currency and institute rule of law and non-corrupt government agencies and a proper democracy in the 1990s.

    Spacewise, the modular Soviet Energia launcher and Buran should’ve been sponsored as parts of a common space program. Energia was better than the SLS is even on paper. It would’ve flewn for over 30 years today. The ISS would’ve been completed much earlier and men would already have been walking on the Moon. Today the Russian space program doesn’t have much to offer. They are concentrating on launching their own military satellites, as they are uniquely self sufficient of ALL their military equipment. And they have also made themselves self sufficient financially (by being debt free) and to a large degree in most economic respects. That’s the level of distrust that grows out of broken promises and hopes experienced through humiliating poverty.

  • Ian C.


    The West had its unique chance to turn Russia into a democracy (..) [b]ut totally screwed it up.

    I agree. Unfortunately many Western cold warriors couldn’t understand that. They are still active today, I meet them at NATO events and the word “Russia” alone gets them red in the face. Unsurprisingly, they’re close to “the swamp” and oppose Trump’s friendliness toward Putin. They can’t think in deals, only confrontation. They loved color revolutions more than trusting a Russian. Many such cases. Sad.

    Today the Russian space program doesn’t have much to offer.

    Yeah. So what now? Considering that I’m a Russophile, I’d prefer to collaborate. But I had to learn that the window of opportunity pretty much closed years ago. I’d love to reach out but cannot. Only Russians I can work with are those expats that left the oppressive hellhole.
    How could we leave the door open a bit? For the rare chance that… you know… we might…

  • Patrick Underwood

    Ian said:

    “The Russians will use their old Soviet psyop entry points (American academia, NGOs, think tanks, and the media) to whine about privatization and inequality under turbo capitalism, environmental concerns (first we ruin the Earth, now the celestial bodies), the geopolitical consequences that might lead to wars and misery etc. to form opposition on American soil and among Artemis partners against this “neo-colonialism.”
    The Chinese have it easy, they can play the West in the same ways thanks to years of Commie subversion.”

    Amazing, that’s very similar to what I wrote in my latest reply to you on the lava-tube thread. Great Minds! :)

  • Kelly

    Given that – with the exception of the Apollo program – no one is even able to put boots on the ground anywhere beyond Earth, what physical jurisdiction does any nation-state have to say anything? The default should be that full private property rights go to those that get there first, with reasonable limitations on the scale and scope of the claims. People are over-complicating this, imo.

  • Dick Eagleson

    The West had no real ability to convert post-Soviet Russia into a democratic, rule-of-law society because the Soviet Union’s fall was due to internal rot, not the decisive loss of a war. Thus the West could not, for example, institute a military government of occupation, disband the KGB, try and execute its leadership for crimes against humanity and jail its lesser hard cases for long enough to reform the larger society as was done in both Germany and Japan after WW2.

    The Soviet Communist Party disintegrated at the end of the Cold War and the KGB, in essence, replaced it, taking about a decade to accomplish that job. That situation still applies 20 years after Putin’s accession to power. It is likely to continue to obtain even should Putin, himself, be toppled by some internal rival.

    The best we can do is wall Russia off as we did during the Cold War and wait for it to utterly implode as it shrinks in population and becomes steadily poorer.

    The Russian rejection of the Artemis Accords provides an excellent reason for cutting Russia out of the Artemis/Gateway program entirely and terminating our space-related activities with them entirely once ISS is decommissioned. Once ISS is gone, I expect the Russian manned space program to die with it. With no more Russians actually in space, we can afford to ignore anything their government thereafter has to say on the subject.

  • pzatchok

    Germany and Japan of the 40’s were socially way different than Russia of the 90’s.

    Japan And Germany were both free enterprise nations before WW2. In fact japan was very Americanized.

    Russia was a dictatorship and communist power since 1920 and even before. When their society/government collapsed in the 90’s not a single person in Russia could remember what it was like to live in a free enterprise system. They had no idea of what to do. Every babushka was afraid of when their retirement checks would be coming and who would put the bread in the stores.
    Only rich party members or gangsters were given the chance to own and operate the large industries the government used to own. The old communist party is still in charge but now they are the new oligarchs.

    Russia wanted no help and was unwilling to let anyone from outside come in and take over the businesses. At what point was the west supposed to come in and help them?

  • Richard M

    Russia can’t afford to go to the Moon, and Rogozin knows it.

    Honestly, I’l be surprised if Roscosmos can even manage these small probes on anything remotely close to the timeline he’s promising.

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