Medvedev furious with failures in the Russian space program

The President of Russia, Dmitri Medvedev, is angry at the failures of its space program.

Medvedev cites Stalin to say will not resort to firing squads, as did the former Soviet leader in 30 years of the last century, but defends tough sanctions for those responsible for the failures of the space program and gave an example: fines to recover all the money spent .

Medvedev raised the prospect of criminal prosecution for space mishaps on Saturday following a series of failed launches that have embarrassed Russia.

The Russian space program has seen a dark period since losing its geolocation system last year. The latest blow was the problems  with Phobos Grunt probe that it intended to reach Mars.

The probe failure came less than three months after a cargo ship carrying food and fuel to the International Space Station burned up in the atmosphere shortly after launch.

"Recent failures are a strong blow to our competitiveness. It does not mean that something fatal has happened, it means that we need to carry out a detailed review and punish those guilty," Medvedev told reporters in televised comments.

"I am not suggesting putting them up against the wall like under Josef Vissarionovich (Stalin), but seriously punish either financially or, if the fault is obvious, it could be a disciplinary or even criminal punishment," he said.

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