Russia’s Foreign Ministry has accused the US State Department of spreading disinformation by not mentioning Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in a Facebook post about the International Day of Human Space Flight.
The United Nations General Assembly in 2011 proclaimed the annual observance held on the anniversary of the solo one-orbit mission that made Gagarin the first man in space on April 12, 1961.
A post on the State Department’s Russian-language page Sunday notes that the first manned spaceflight took place 59 years ago but does not name the person who who performed it.
“Not noting this is disinformation and a base trick of the post-truth epoch,” the Russian ministry said on its own page.
“The world’s first spaceship, Vostok, with a man on board, was launched into orbit from the Soviet Union on 12 April 1961. The pilot space-navigator of the satellite-spaceship Vostok is a citizen of the USSR, Flight Major Yuri Gagarin.”
To the world of 1961, this was an electrifying announcement, made while Gagarin was still in space. The Americans were stunned, but the congratulations they sent to Moscow were genuine. This historic 108-minute flight, orbiting once around Earth, made Gagarin the first human in space, and an international hero.
Yuri Gagarin was the first to see Earth from space and his legacy has inspired many young people to follow careers in science and engineering – and to become astronauts.