US diplomats are ‘assholes’, Russian space chief says as State Department silent on anniversary of Gagarin’s historic space flight, Apr 13 2021

Screenshot 2021-04-13 at 16.38.41

Moscow has accused US diplomats of failing to acknowledge Soviet spaceflight achievements during commemorations held in honor of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who became the first human to orbit the Earth 60 years ago this week. The US State Dept’s Russian-language Facebook page posted a short message on Monday commemorating what it called the “anniversary of peoples’ stay in space,” and paid tribute to “international cooperation facilitated by space exploration.” Alongside the statement was a graphic featuring an American astronaut performing a spacewalk. The head of Russia’s Roscosmos space agency, Dmitry Rogozin, lashed out angrily at the post. On Tuesday, the Russian Embassy in Washington added its voice to the row, claiming that the State Dept had “again demonstrated memory loss regarding the history of space exploration” and accusing the diplomats of distorting Gagarin’s memory. The embassy said:

Our forgetful colleagues can find the bust of the space pioneer at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. Sculptures of Yuri Gagarin also were erected in Cleveland, Colorado Springs, New York City, Houston and Chicago. Thousands of Americans, including astronauts and NASA personnel, visit these sites every year to honor the memory of the Soviet cosmonaut.

Just last week, a NASA astronaut was ferried up to the International Space Station on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft named after Gagarin. Let’s hope that these facts will help American diplomats in the future not to be shy to say out loud the name of the first cosmonaut on Earth.

A series of commemorations were held throughout the former USSR and across the world to mark the Soviet-Russian cosmonaut’s maiden voyage into the stars. On Apr 12 1961, his Vostok-1 spacecraft blasted off from a launch pad in the desert of Kazakhstan, before orbiting the Earth once. He landed in a Russian potato field, much to the surprise of local farmers, just 108 minutes later. The mission marked the first major milestone in the space race between Moscow and Washington as Cold War rivals. However, since the fall of the Soviet Union, the two nations have largely cooperated on international projects aimed at the peaceful development of space travel. NASA paid tribute to Gagarin on Monday, saying:

As we reflect on his accomplishment today, we look ahead to the future of human space flight as we prepare to send humans back to the Moon.

The State Dept congratulated the unknown American astronaut on the first flight into space
Colonel Cassad, Apr 12 2021

Estimate the level of tolerance of the congratulations of the US State Dept on Apr 12. International Day of Human Space Flight. What kind of person is this and from which country did he fly? Apparently an unknown American astronaut, thanks to international cooperation. How it still burns with them that they were not the first.

State Dept celebrates space day by ERASING first man in orbit
Nebojsa Malic,, Apr 13 2021

A mural depicting cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in Krasnogorsk,
Russia, Apr 11 2021. Photo: Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

Celebrating the anniversary of human spaceflight but omitting the name of Yuri Gagarin suggests that the US establishment is so insecure that it seems physically incapable of acknowledging any achievements of non-Americans. “Today marks 60 years since the first human was sent to space!” began the State Department tweet on Tuesday, accurately referring to the anniversary of the first orbital flight in 1961. Except then they went on:

On International #HumanSpaceFlight Day, we honor all US astronauts who have ventured into space, including Apollo 11 astronaut and former Assistant Secretary of State Michael Collins.

Collins, who flew the command module while Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon in 1969, is legitimately a great name in the history of space exploration. But while April 12 is a holiday for all humanity, the first man in space had a name: Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin. He was not an American astronaut, either, but a Soviet cosmonaut. No-one else seemed to have any difficulties acknowledging this, mind you. Here’s the Australian Space Agency, which even quotes Gagarin’s famous words, “Poyekhali!” ( Let’s go!)

The European Union’s military-industrial complex, has to be Russophobic professionally on a daily basis, likewise had no problem mentioning Gagarin’s name.

Checking with the UN office in Vienna – yep, Gagarin, no issues.

The first man in space did get omitted by another UN account, but only so they could bring up the first woman in space, also a Soviet cosmonaut, Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova, instead. While not fair, it’s at least not historical revisionism.

Now, maybe this is all just an oversight at Foggy Bottom. After all, they were a little busy inaugurating their historic and very first ever Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. Except this is hardly the first oversight of this kind coming from Washington lately. Last May, the White House congratulated the US and UK on victory in the Second World War, outright ignoring the third major Allied nation that did the bulk of the fighting and dying, the Soviet Union, of which Russia is the legal successor. Earlier that year, VP Pence gave a speech in Israel thanking “soldiers” who opened the gates of Auschwitz on Jan 27 1945, without saying who they were. A few moments later, he thanked American soldiers who “freed a continent from the grip of tyranny.” From that speech alone, one might conclude the liberators of the notorious Nazi death camp were Americans, and not the 322nd Rifle Division of the Red Army, under General Pyotr Ivanovich Zubov. That’s exactly what the German magazine Der Spiegel did. Once called out, they shrugged it off as “extremely embarrassing mistake.” You think?

One might argue that the erasure of the Soviet Union from WW2 took place under the previous administration, but no one on the other side of the aisle objected at the time. There was no uproar from Democrats, so eager to criticize everything else Donald Trump and his administration ever said or did, about this shameful historical revisionism. The Democrat-run State Department’s choice to omit Gagarin’s name from the celebration of first human spaceflight suggests this isn’t a partisan issue, but one of “American exceptionalism” so ingrained in Washington. Here’s the deal, as the current occupant of the White House might say. Refusing to acknowledge the first man in space isn’t great, or special. It’s childish and petty. Worse, it’s historical revisionism that’s entirely unbecoming from a country that wants to be taken seriously.

One Comment

  1. lobro
    Posted April 14, 2021 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    who discovered america?
    an american obviously, what is this, a trick question?

    at least i hope they honored stanley kubrick as the first man on the moon (i preferred the early outtakes wearing hawaiian shirts, later replaced by rented michelin man outfit—something to do with van allen belt … uptight NASAholes).

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