The White House is reportedly considering a temporary reprieve from sanctions for Russian official Dmitry Rogozin in order to accommodate NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, who has invited Rogozin to visit the United States.
According to ThinkProgress, Rogozin was one of the first officials sanctioned by the U.S. after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, at which time Rogozin served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia.
The move froze his U.S. assets and prohibits Rogozin from traveling to America.
Ultranationalist Dmitry Rogozin would be the second known sanctioned Russian to visit the United States under the Trump administration. The meeting, details of which are still “sparse,” will reportedly take place at NASA’s Houston headquarters in early 2019, according to Politico.
Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed Rogozin head of Roscosmos, the state corporation that oversees Russia’s space program, this past summer. The move was surprising, considering the carefully apolitical space exploration allianceRussia and the United States have enjoyed in the past.
According to Politico, Bridenstine first extended the controversial invitation in October. NASA officials say that planning for Rogozin’s “potential visit…is still underway.”
Rather than waive sanctions, U.S. officials can meet with Russian officials in third countries, ThinkProgress noted, but “Russian state media reports from October claimed NASA had convinced the White House at the time to “temporarily” lift the travel ban.”
Apart from the fact that Rogozin is currently under sanctions, he is also a strong opponent of the LBGTQ community.
In 2015, he claimed that the West would “fall under the weight of Islamic State and gays. The year before, he openly mocked Latvia’s foreign minister Edgars Rinkevics for coming out. Back in 2012, he called Madonna a “whore” for making pro-LGBTQ comments before a concert in St. Petersburg.
According to SpaceNews, in 2005, Rogozin, then the leader of the Russian nationalist political party Rodina, also saw his party banned from participating in elections after its political ads were “found to incite racial hatred.” He resigned as party leader in 2006.