First Man in Space: Vintage Soviet Propaganda Glorifying Yuri Gagarin

Rykoff Collection
Rykoff Collection
Drawn from a set exploring the young cosmonaut's origins, the photo claims to show the young man not long after he finished trade school.

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

Mideast Israel Palestinians

The Best Pictures of the Week: Nov. 14 – Nov. 21

From a dramatic snowstorm in Buffalo, N.Y. and the slaying of worshipers in a Jerusalem synagogue to Obama’s immigration plan and the murder of Honduras’ beauty queen, TIME presents the best pictures of the week.

Read More
pakistan-death-threat-alixandra-fazzina-09

Published Photographs Lead to Death Threats in Pakistan

A fisherman guides his canoe laden with pirarucu out of Lago do Macaco, or Monkey's Lake, in Brazilís Amazonas region.

Photojournalism Daily: Nov. 21, 2014

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 19,211 other followers