First Man in Space: Vintage Soviet Propaganda Glorifying Yuri Gagarin

Rykoff Collection
Rykoff Collection
Bearing the date of Gagarin's orbit, this card was published a few weeks after his triumph.

Excerpts from a collection of postcards commemorating the Soviet cosmonaut’s historic journey into outer space fifty years ago.

On April 12, 1961, a young Soviet pilot named Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the earth. The trip lasted a little less than two hours, but its success had extraordinary significance for the Soviet Union, which at the time was engaged in the heated “space race” with the United States.

The cosmonaut’s heroic act was the cause of great celebration in the USSR, as the country’s state-controlled media churned out countless mementos celebrating his achievement. Not only handsome, Gagarin came complete with peasant origins, making him the ideal subject for a Soviet propaganda campaign.

Related Topics: , , , , , , ,

Latest Posts

Hidden Islam, Nicolò Degiorgis

Hidden Islam: Nicolo Degiorgis Charts the Challenges of Being Muslim in Italy

In Hidden Islam, a new award-winning photobook by Italian photographer Nicolo Degiorgis, Islamic makeshift places of worship are revealed

Read More
The Ebola Crisis, Gulu, Uganda, 2000

Picturing Ebola: Photographers Chase an Invisible Killer

HONDURAS - IMMIGRATION

Immigration Crisis: Photographing the Violence Behind the Honduras Exodus