The Federal Space Agency has nominated astronaut Maxim Surayev for the title of Hero of the Russian Federation. The nomination was submitted directly to the presidential administration, bypassing the Defense Ministry.
"The nomination of pilot and astronaut Maxim Viktorovich Surayev for the Hero of the Russian Federation title was twice submitted to the Russian Defense Ministry. Now the nomination was sent directly to the Russian Presidential Administration," a report posted on the agency website on Thursday said.
The agency confirmed that the Defense Ministry had twice declined the nomination.
The agency made no comment earlier, saying that it did not want to wash dirty linen in public. The Cosmonaut Training Center did not make any comments either.
Astronaut Oleg Kotov, who returned from an International Space Station Mission in June, told Interfax-AVN that the Defense Ministry did not support Surayev's nomination.
He said that the Cosmonaut Training Center made the nomination twice. Surayev spent almost six months on the ISS. "Both nominations were turned down. The ministry said there were no sufficient grounds for supporting the nominations," Kotov said.