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    ROSAVIAKOSMOS LONG-LIVER CHIEF LEAVES POST

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    MOSCOW, MARCH 12. (RIA NOVOSTI) -- Yuri Koptev, head of the Russian Space Agency Rosaviakosmos, will leave the federal agency. He said this after the official function at the Rossia concert hall honouring the 70th birth anniversary of the first-ever cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

    "I will not remain in the agency", he was firm, commenting on the information on the tentative appointment of Anatoli Perminov, commander of the Russian Space Troops, in his place.

    Yuri Koptev will mark his 67th birthday on March 13.

    Instead of Yuri Koptev the federal space agency will, in all probability, be headed by commander of the Russian Space Troops Anatoli Perminov.

    In turn, in charge of the Space Troops may be Perminov's first deputy and chief of staff Vladimir Popovkin, 46.

    The federal agency cannot yet confirm the information on Koptev's supposed withdrawal and Perminov's taking his place. "Until we get the official information, we can neither confirm nor deny the information on the supposed change", official spokesman for Rosaviakosmos Sergei Gorbunov has said.

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