Russia: Cosmonaut's Day and Yuri Gagarin gala at the Kremlin (video)

By Xeni Jardin

gagarinthumb.jpg As detailed in this Boing Boing post, I spent the last few days in Moscow with space journalist Miles O'Brien and his documentary crew. We attended a massive, televised state gala at the Kremlin honoring 50 years since the first human space flight by cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

President Dmitry Medvedev opened the evening with a speech about Russian superiority in space. In attendance were many current and former cosmonauts, lots of top military brass and state officials, some NASA folks, and Russian celebrities like the ex-spy and Russian hero Anna Chapman. Also in Moscow that week for the festivities were a number of the 7 private citizens who've paid to travel to space: Charles Simonyi, Greg Olsen, Anousheh Ansari, Mark Shuttleworth, Richard Garriott, and Dennis Tito, along with Eric Anderson, founder of Space Adventures, the company which made their space flights with the Russian space program possible.

Miles' report for PBS is here. Embedded above (and here) is a quick little video snip from one of the acts that performed an ode to the cosmonauts in front of space b-roll. I'm afraid I didn't get their name; there was a programme in Cyrillic, but I didn't end up with a copy, and my seat-mates didn't speak Russian so we couldn't understand the on-stage emcees.

As we walked out of the theater, it was snowing. The military choir finale (which I did not video, alas) was a potent earworm, and we sang it aloud as we all trudged back to the hotel. [YouTube Link]. More photos below (click each to view larger size, all photos shot by yours truly).







Previously: Cosmonaut's Day in Moscow: Notes from Yuri Gagarin gala inside the Kremlin

Published 10:51 am Thu, Apr 14, 2011

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About the Author

Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email:

15 Responses to “Russia: Cosmonaut's Day and Yuri Gagarin gala at the Kremlin (video)”

  1. Anonymous says:

    How appropriate that a guy named Miles O’Brien chose to be a space journalist

  2. inkfumes says:

    Shameless plug for my t-shirt that commemorates the cosmonauts lost to the Russian Space Program. Some were launched on modified R-52 Ballistic missiles at the Kapustin Yar launch base…

    Farewell Cosmonaut:

  3. NoctilucentStudios says:

    “”as we all trudged back to the hotel.””

    Really Xeni, you trudged back? Or was it more like goosestepping with a joyous esprit de corps?

    Amirite, Comrade?

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      0 degrees, bub, and snowing. We was trudgin’.

      • NoctilucentStudios says:

        If you say so….just allow us the mental image of you goosestepping….lookin’ all Soviet and what not.

        • IronEdithKidd says:

          I just checked the almanac for Moscow on the 12th. It was 0 degrees Celcius. Not as cold as you might be imagining.

  4. Utenzil says:

    Really very wonderful I think. I like that they show the more “human” reactions of the cosmonauts, their glee at being weightless, their relief on arriving home.

    I remember reading comments from the US astronauts when the US/Russia docking exercise occurred, to the effect of “When we saw what they were flying in, the state of the safety gear, the limited backup systems, we gained a new respect for theese guys”.

    People may say various bitter things, but we’re in a new century, let’s make the best of it. Off we go!!!

  5. JIMWICh says:

    I love that black and white photo, Xeni. It looks like you traveled back in time to early 1960s Moscow for family day at the Politburo. Which honestly wouldn’t surprise me a bit.

  6. Robert says:

    I hear they’re also demonstrating Photoshop techniques.

  7. Anonymous says:

    That dudes name is Miles O’Brien! So TNG right now!

  8. lewis stoole says:

    i love the black and white photo, it took me a second to realize that it was the present and not some sputnik era snapshot.

  9. Kupuna says:

    Note the black and white photo split on either side of the female cosmonaut photo. Nice little dig there!


    Lee Harvey Oswald being shot by Jack Ruby

  10. jphilby says:

    “Russian superiority in space….”

    Hopefully they mentioned the names of some other cosmonauts that died so they could be ‘superior’.

  11. Yenisei says:

    For your convenience: the sad but catchy tune in question is a song called ‘How young we used to be’ written in 1968 by Alexandra Pakhmutova for Alexander Gradsky. Here it’s delivered by the latter, with an overview of the lyrics in English. At the gala, I believe, the singers are the Turetsky Choir and Tamara Gverdtsiteli, although I’m not quite sure.