Yuri is back in the UK!

Tomorrow, Thursday the 6th of March 2013, at a special ceremony in London, a statue of Yuri Gagarin will be unveiled at the Greenwich Royal Observatory, the historic cradle of British planetary and space science.

For a brief period around the end World War Two, the UK and Soviet Russia were developing cultural and diplomatic relations, but this short period of warmth was soon brought to an end by the Cold War.

Working on Yuri Gagarin’s story brought back for me half-forgotten childhood memories of that time, memories that seemed oddly out of tune with the propaganda battles of the sixties and seventies, when politics tried hard to make us strangers to each other. Just as the long winter of the Cold War was closing in however, it was Yuri Gagarin who caught the popular imagination around the world, and gave us a glimpse of a different kind of future.

It was not by official government invitation that he came to the UK, but by the desire of ordinary people to have a chance to meet and congratulate the hero. When they saw the enthusiasm of the crowds, the British government had to run to catch up with popular feeling, and give Yuri a proper reception.

Now, the wheels of history have turned again, and once more, in a very different world, Britain and Russia are trying to mend fences and build bridges. And it seems only fitting, that once again, that skilled diplomat, Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, is playing a big part in bringing us closer together.

I am looking forward with great excitement to attending the ceremony, and meeting among others, representatives of Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, and Yuri’s daughter, Elena Gagarina, who has been a lifelong champion of her father’s achievements.

 

It should be a memorable occasion, and I will be posting my impressions of the day here as soon as I can.

 

This entry was posted in The Cold War, WW2, Yuri Gagarin, YURI's DAY, Yuri's life. Bookmark the permalink.

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