Video address by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's flight into space, Moscow, April 12, 2021
This year, the whole world is celebrating a truly significant event, the 60th anniversary of the first manned flight into space. On April 12, 1961, a citizen of our country, Yuri Gagarin, for the first time in human history, orbited the Earth in a manned spacecraft.
The significance of this breakthrough into near-earth space cannot be overestimated. The launch of the Vostok spacecraft ushered in a new era in the centuries-long chronicle of civilisation. Our great compatriot made a tremendous contribution to the progressive development of humankind, and confirmed our people’s ability to effectively cope with the most challenging and responsible tasks.
Yuri Gagarin continues to be a model of heroism and dedication for billions of people around the world; he continues to inspire people to take on any obstacle and achieve the most ambitious and noble goals. It is no coincidence that ten years ago, the UN General Assembly declared April 12 as the International Day of Human Space Flight, at Russia’s initiative.
We are confident that constructive cooperation in space exploration should remain among the key areas on the unifying international agenda. Over the past decades, Russia, as a leader in space exploration, has provided assistance to a number of states in launching manned flights into orbit. At the UN Committee on Outer Space, we are pursuing a consistent policy line to ensure equal access of states to outer space and to preserve it for future generations.
We consistently maintain that guaranteed prevention of an arms race in outer space is crucial to its use for constructive purposes, for the benefit of all humankind. We support the launch of negotiations on the development of an international legally binding instrument prohibiting the deployment of any type of weapon there and the use or threat of force. We propose using the relevant Russian-Chinese draft treaty submitted at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva in 2014 as a basis for the future document. To stabilise the situation while such a multilateral document remains in the works, we propose relying on the international initiative (put forth by Russia and supported by other countries) for countries to make a political commitment on no-first-placement of weapons in outer space. About 30 countries have already joined it.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is making every effort to perpetuate Yuri Gagarin’s memory. The Ministry building on Smolenskaya Square is housing a TASS photo display, The Messenger of Peace, dedicated to the first cosmonaut’s role in creating an atmosphere of friendship, trust and mutual understanding between countries and peoples. Russian missions around the world have also planned a series of commemorative events on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the first manned flight into space. We will continue this effort to preserve the continuity of times and generations and to raise the awareness of the unfading significance of such historic events, not only for our people, but for the entire world.
Wishing you all the best,
Happy Cosmonautics Day!