Cover Osteuropa 10/2009

In Osteuropa 10/2009

“Columbus of the Cosmos”
The Cult of Yuri Gagarin

Klaus Gestwa

Deutsche Fassung


Gagarin gave Communism a smiling face. As a member of the jet-set during the Soviets’ global charm offensive, he was enormously successful. In the wake of de-Stalinisation, the cult of the cosmonaut served to help institutionalised heroism and the cultural cosmos of the Soviet Man fit the new prevailing circumstances. To this day, official history policy in Moscow uses the cult of the cosmonaut to hold Russian society together.

(Osteuropa 10/2009, pp. 121–152)