Yuri Gagarin abroad and at home. Looking at the unknown photos of the cosmonaut

April 14

There are a lot of photos of Yuri Gagarin. Photojournalists took pictures of the cosmonaut during training, captured the final minutes before the launch of the Vostok spacecraft, and the first hours past landing, as well as during a triumphant meeting in Moscow, and communicating with thousands of people both at home and abroad.

Among the documents kept in the funds of the Victory Museum, photographs of Gagarin presented by Soviet military leaders, veterans of the Great Patriotic War, and their relatives enjoy pride of place. The most interesting of these photographs, as well as related stories are in the mos.ru article.

Legendary photo with a dove

Almost immediately after the flight, Yuri Gagarin went on his first trip abroad with a peace mission. In May 1961, Yuri Gagarin visited Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Finland, Great Britain, and Egypt. Bulgaria was the second country the he visited. When approaching the capital, the Bulgarian pilots greeted him with an honorary escort. The photograph that was taken in Sofia immediately became popular worldwide; on it, the smiling cosmonaut holds a white dove donated by the Bulgarian pioneers. Gagarin was awarded the title of the citizen of honour of three Bulgarian cities - Sofia, Pernik, and Plovdiv.

During 1961, he also visited Poland, Hungary, Cuba, Brazil, Canada, India, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Afghanistan, and other countries. He kept on visiting foreign countries in the following years. The countries that the cosmonaut visited during his life totalled nearly 30. When he travelled by air he was always recognized by the passengers and asked for an autograph. This picture also has an autograph on it signed by the hand of the first man in space for Major General of the Medical Service Mikhail Gilenko (in the photo the surname is spelled with an error).

Portrait of Yuri Gagarin. Photo by P. Barashev. Bulgaria, Sofia, 1961

Cosmonaut and candies

This shot allows you to see Yuri Gagarin in the cabin of the plane and appreciate the sense of humour that has never left him. The first cosmonaut was captured during a friendly joke: disguised as steward, he offers candy to the head of the Cosmonaut Training Centre Nikolai Kuznetsov. In the background (behind Gagarin) is pilot-cosmonaut Valery Bykovsky, who flew in June 1963 on the Vostok-5 spacecraft in a tandem flight with Valentina Tereshkova on the Vostok-6.

Yuri Gagarin is on board the aircraft. 1964. A gift by Major General of Aviation Nikolai Kuznetsov to the Museum

Pictures from Scandinavia

In the spring of 1964, cosmonauts Yuri Gagarin and Valery Bykovsky made a trip to the Scandinavian Peninsula. The visited Sweden and Norway. Two documentaries were filmed based on this trip which were released in the same year by Mosnauchfilm - On the Swedish Land and cosmonauts in the Land of the Fjords. The stay of the Soviet delegation in Sweden started with Stockholm. The cosmonauts held press conferences, talked with athletes, college students, and students of a higher technical school. They also paid a visit to King Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden, as well as to Prime Minister Tage Erlander.

Later, Yuri Gagarin went to the south of the country to visit Gothenburg and Malmö. Bykovsky, meanwhile, was in the north. Having met again in the capital city, the cosmonauts flew to Norway where they spent about a week. They visited the three largest Norwegian cities - Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim.

The Victory Museum collection has three photographs illustrating a visit to two Scandinavian countries. All three were donated to the museum by Nikolai Kuznetsov, who also took part in the trip as the head of the Cosmonaut Training Centre.

Victory Day parade

On May 9, 1965, Yuri Gagarin took part in the Victory Day Parade in Berlin (GDR). The picture shows him standing next to Vasily Kozlov, the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Byelorussian SSR, Sergei Semenov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR, Vasily Chuikov Marshal of the Soviet Union, and Aleksei Kosygin, member of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the CPSU.

This was not the first and not the most famous trip of Gagarin to the GDR. In October 1963, he visited East Germany with Valentina Tereshkova. Everywhere on their way they were hailed by huge crowds, people sincerely rejoiced at the meeting. ‘Guests from space’ - this is how the residents of Karl-Marx-Stadt (now Chemnitz), Erfurt, Berlin, and other cities they visited, called them.

 Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Victory. East Germany, Berlin, 1965

In the company of other cosmonauts

The Victory Museum keeps a photograph of the Heroes of the Soviet Union, pilot-cosmonaut Colonel Yuri Gagarin, Lieutenant Colonel Pavel Popovich, Lieutenant Colonel Andriyan Nikolaev, Captain Valentina Tereshkova, Lieutenant Colonel German Titov and Lieutenant Colonel Valery Bykovsky taken in 1965. This picture is highly valued for the autographs on its front side: each cosmonaut signed next to his image, and below Tereshkova wrote: ‘To Nikolai Fedorovich Kuznetsov in memory of the first space flights with deep respect and love. Valya.’

From 1963 to 1972 Major General of Aviation Nikolai Kuznetsov, Hero of the Soviet Union, was the head of the Cosmonaut Training Centre (now called Yu.A.Gagarin Research & Test Cosmonaut Training Centre). The name of the first cosmonaut was given to the Centre during the years of Kuznetsov’s rule. In 1987, Nikolai Kuznetsov wrote a story “The chief designer and the first cosmonaut” dedicated to the designer Sergei Korolev and Yuri Gagarin.

The photo with autographs of the cosmonauts and Valentina Tereshkova’s dedication. 1965. A gift by Major General of Aviation Nikolai Kuznetsov to the Museum

The first cosmonaut on vacation

In 1964, Yuri Gagarin was appointed deputy head of the Cosmonaut Training Centre and commander of the Soviet cosmonaut detachment. At that time, he studied at the Air Force Engineering Academy named after N.E. Zhukovsky which he had entered in 1961. He defended his diploma thesis in 1968 and was qualified as a pilot-cosmonaut-engineer. Besides, he was a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, and headed the freelance cosmonautics department of the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper. In 1966 he was elected an honorary member of the International Academy of cosmonautics, shortly after that he began training related to the Soyuz program. Until his death (he died in a plane crash in 1968), Gagarin was engaged in the moon flights program.

Work, study, social activities, and travel took almost all the time. The first cosmonaut, however, had a hobby - he had a collection of cacti and was fond of water skiing. He also loved ordinary outdoor recreation. During one of such breaks he was captured by the camera of the photographer Vasily Temin.

Source: mos.ru

Latest Events

Concerts of Classic and Folk Music

Aida Garifullina

February 29, 2020
If you continue to use our website, you are agreeing to accept the use of cookies on your device. Cookie files ensure the website’s efficiency and help us provide you with the most interesting and relevant information. Read more about cookie files.
Accept ccokies