The bare idea that the failure of the launch of the Mars has to be dealt with punishment is something that reveals a total lack of respect by those who produce knowledge. Science is naturally political in democratic countries as you can not really have democratic voting by uninformed people. Science, by advancing knowledge about the world we live in, is a vehicle of democracy and therefore a political instrument.
On the other hand, this kind of oppression over scientists that Medvedev is showing is a very dangerous and totally over the edge. It limits the advances of science, conditions scientists to propaganda successes under the threat of the whip and forgets that scienc advances even in failure. Inpatient politicians make very bad scientists and maybe Medvedev should first look to what has happened to russian science in the past 10 years to understand today’s failures. His declarations are a sign of how he sees governing more than science. It is profoundly wrong and it’s not a good vision for science or democracy.