Nov 16 2011: Yuri Gagarin, First Pilot Cosmonaut in U.S.S.R. Cosmos (Soviet Union, 1961)

There’s no indication as to who published this fold-out supplement celebrating the Soviet Space Programme in the aftermath of Yuri Gagarin’s first Earth orbital flight on April 12, 1961, but the style, tone of the text and general purpose would suggest it was an official Soviet production for release in English speaking markets. It isn’t dated, but as it only speculates about the next stage of the programme and has no mention of Valentina Tereshkova’s equally celebrated flight, becoming the first woman into space in 1963, then the range of possible dates for the publication here is fairly narrow: 1961 or 1962. Like the roughly contemporaneous issues of Soviet Union magazine featured elsewhere, or the images from Moscow’s pre-Olympic pitch to international visitors in 1972, there’s obviously a propaganda function to this: though in most respects, it’s no different to the kinds of material that were in wide circulation in Western Europe and America around the same time: were Flying Review International, to take just one example, a Soviet rather than a Western publication, it’s hard to see what would be fundamentally different about it.

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