Wednesday, May 4, 2011

RUSSIA - All gagas Gagarin

In ancient Gjatsk [Smolensk region, 26 000], which is since 1968 the name of the first cosmonauts, Yuri Gagarin, is everywhere. Banks and mobile operators use of his image in their advertisements. It appears on a vast canvas that covers half of a building downtown, and his smile displayed in the windows of apartments.

If you come by train, his bust will greet you at the station, where his giant portrait throne above the counters. On site, everyone will tell you: "Be aware! The first landowner to have flown in space! How can you not be proud?" Is there an event as sensational as his past 108 minutes aboard Vostok-1? For the people of Gagarin, no doubt, there has never been anything remotely like it and the world will know more intense emotion.

But how do they see that son of a carpenter who was the first man to orbit the Earth and died a few days after celebrating his 34 years? "There should be a portrait of Gagarin in all schools, ignites the mayor, Alexander Grinkevitch. His own office account number, as well as statuettes and a clock bearing his image.

Some children in Russia do not know first cosmonaut to face world! It's a shame, it is unacceptable! United Russia [the ruling] has decided to install his portrait in all schools in the region and eventually throughout the country. "Hearing that we had not ourselves portrait of the hero in the office our writing, he scowls and immediately organized a little ceremony for us give one solemnly framed with a commemorative book and a keepsake calendar.

It then requires us to make Klouchino, a remote village 20 km where Yuri Gagarin spent his early years, and go to the hut, "worse than a stable", in which the family lived during the Nazi occupation. "And do not forget to taste the well water, those who drink it off in the space, it worked with all the visitors from Zviozdny Gorodok [Star City, home to the Russian center preparedness space flight].

"The mayor finally admits his ambition to build a nearby theme park, a sort of Cosmosland to retain tourists, who usually stay a day when so many to visit. As the mayor, the whole city lives only through the first man in space, so that after a few hours, you start to feel this impregnated sincere worship.

The youngest in kindergarten Gagarin, or the La Petite Etoile. We explain in detail what should make them so proud, and entering primary school, they are well prepared. Needless to say what name the school gate, where you can admire a life-size plaster Gagarin, and his bust in bronze, not counting a hundred portraits scattered throughout the building.

The walls are decorated with children's drawings on the theme of the cosmos, or works for the contest of the Year of the space, or in honor of 9 March, the day of the birth of the hero. And we do not talk about the principal's office. I never much wanted to see at least a picture of Putin for a change.

In vain. "The school has an organization dedicated to the most deserving group of Gagariniens!" ignites the Director, Anna Kolomeïets. We soon discover, by questioning the children, in fact they are all part. The structure is modeled on that of the pioneers [the national movement of children in Soviet times], with flag and anthem.

They also have their own radio, through which they have come in contact with the crew of the International Space Station. The school also has a museum, where children are used as guides. When you hear them declaiming that "the personality of our radiant cosmonaut is a star that guides youth", it was felt that the text has not changed a comma in half a century.

If your heart tells you, you can also see the parents' house Gagarin. The house where he was born. The museum's first space flight. The Museum Gagarin. The bust of Yuri Gagarin, Gagarin Street. The school Gagarin. The school has attended Gagarin. The Museum School Years Gagarin. The statue of Gagarin's mother, Anna.

In public, his image is often associated with that of his son, either at the police station, hospital, town hall or post office. As for his father, he is nowhere. At the time, in the family, no one knew that Yuri, test pilot, had been integrated into the team for future astronauts, and there was even less aware of his mission.

Tamara Filatova, granddaughter of Anna Gagarin and niece of the great man, is director of the Gagarin Museum since 1971. She was 14 years old in April 1961 and will never forget that spring: "What happened was unbelievable! The house was besieged, everyone wanted to hear about Yuri was so extraordinary, the first man in space, and in addition, a simple lad from the countryside.

The whole world was also shocked that we, Gjatsk! We will never know anything of the same. Even if the man asks himself one day on Mars, happiness and excitement will never be as wonderful. "After the death of Gagarin [March 27, 1968, in an accident during a training flight, flying a fighter plane], his house became a place of pilgrimage, and his mother a sort of saint, whose least word was sacred.

In town, we still talk as "the mother of the greatest man on Earth "," a mother to us all. "

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