To the 50th anniversary of the death of the first cosmonaut
50 years ago, on March 27, 1968, a tragic event happened that shook the whole world – the first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin died. What was he like, this man of legend, surpassed by the glory of kings and generals?
It is necessary to live simply, but with enthusiasm, with love to do one’s own, even if small, business and with love to make it big. (Yuri Gagarin)
In the peasant family of Alexei Ivanovich and Anna Timofeevna Gagarin there were four children: Valentin, Zoya, Yury and Boris. The father was a carpenter, the mother worked on the collective farm as a livestock breeder. Yuri was born on March 9, 1934. Before the war, they lived in the village Klushino of the Smolensk region. Many had to sip grief in the war years. Survived the occupation, hunger, mockery of the Nazis. They were kicked out of the house – they dug a dugout. Older children – Valentine and Zoya – were hijacked to Germany, fortunately, they managed to escape and join our troops. The younger ones almost died – Yura and Boryska.
After the war, the family moved to Gzhatsk. It is noteworthy that just in those years, hegumen Nikon (Vorobyov), a well-known devotee of piety of the Russian Orthodox Church, was appointed abbot of the only active church of Gzhatsk (1948). It is very likely that the parents of Yuri Gagarin (and they believed in the Lord) from Fr. Nikon talked, and maybe Yuri himself. “Gagarin’s parents had icons hanging in a red corner in a large room and in the kitchen. After the flight, Alexey Ivanovich came to the leadership of the district committee: they say, your son is an astronaut, and icons hang in the house. But he did not take down the icon … I am Yuri Gagarin and at that time always just called me holy. My grandmother told me how the 13-year-old Yura in the temple carried me in his arms around the baptismal font. He baptized his two daughters as well, ”recalls Tamara Filatova, the niece of Yuri, the daughter of his sister Zoya .
He had a very sensitive conscience
How did Yura Gagarin grow? Quite an ordinary boy, very lively, restless, playful. Although something already distinguished him. Here one of his teachers recalls: “There was no harm, anger, rudeness in the pranks of Yura. Delicate he was. But the words of the head of the basic school of Gzhatsk, in which he studied Yura, Elena Feodorovna Lunova: “Yura was no different? Was different! He knew how to feel the pain of another person … ". And: "I do not remember that he ever did not keep his words" . About this his loyalty to his word will be remembered later by many. But the mother writes, Anna Timofeevna: “Yura was not something that stood out for his kindness, but rather, he called for the kindness of others. Not a word (the guys do not like appeals), but in deed. He did not hesitate to be attentive, polite, responsive. But usually, the guys at this age like to appear coarser than they actually are … Yura has been especially sensitive since childhood, who knows how to recognize that a person is worried and upset about something. Though I was a child, I knew that an adult was also waiting for warmth. I, in any case, felt this warmth. It turns out that others also noticed ”.
And they also noticed: he always knew how to admit his mistakes and was in a hurry to correct. Not afraid to admit his guilt in public. He knew how to ask for forgiveness. He had a very sensitive conscience. And if he saw that his act was unworthy, that he had hurt someone, he experienced it very deeply, very keenly.
Excellent graduates could continue their studies in their specialty. So Gagarin was in the Saratov Industrial College. Still loved to play sports. And in the fourth year I had the opportunity to enroll in the flying club. An old dream come true – to become a pilot.
By the nature of the Jura remained the same cheerful, lively, soul of the company. Never been invisible "meek". At the same time, he possessed great willpower, some kind of internal core. “Sometimes, mom, doing the right thing is harder than wrong. But I will never depart from the principles, ”he wrote to his mother in one of the letters .
A keen study began in Chkalov (now Orenburg). However, Gagarin almost left the school himself: his father fell seriously ill, and Yura is ready to be a dear to heart for the sake of helping his family. But the cost. In Orenburg, Yuri met his bride, Valentina Goryacheva, who soon became his wife.
When the first artificial satellite of the Earth was launched and there were reports of launches of dogs into orbit, it became clear that man’s flight was not far off. In his youth, Gagarin was fascinated by the ideas of Tsiolkovsky, they hooked him. Then I recalled: “In reading those days newspapers describing the flight of the second artificial satellite of the Earth, I thought: since a living being is already in space, why not fly there to a person? And for the first time I thought: why not become this person? I thought and was afraid of my audacity: after all, in our country there will be thousands more people who are better prepared for this than I am. The thought flashed, burned and disappeared ”.
He tried to always choose the most difficult thing – not for the sake of praise, but to make it easier for others.
The place of service after graduating from college, Gagarin chose the Arctic. In general, he always tried to choose the most difficult and difficult – not to stand out, and not for the sake of praise, but in order to make it easier for others. The hardest thing to take on.
Yuri’s colleague Yury Khomenko recalls: “Gagarin easily and freely entered our team. He didn’t stand out for business, didn’t strive to appear better than he really was. He was a kind, sociable boy with an infectious, unique smile. To him went, let me compare, like the light … ".
The tale is coming true
A squad of first cosmonauts decided to recruit fighter pilots. More than 3500 personal files were reviewed. Selected 700 people who were invited first to talk. Those who agreed to work on a “fundamentally new technique” were subjected to cruel medical commissions and tests, which took place in several stages. So a squad of 20 people appeared, which they began to prepare for flight into space. One of them was a 26-year-old senior lieutenant Yuri Alekseevich Gagarin.
Began intense training for the flight. Theoretical disciplines, parachute training, various workouts: a centrifuge with huge overloads, a pressure chamber with low oxygen content, a heat chamber with heat up to 70-80 degrees, a shaker, a silencer – stay in absolute silence and solitude.
They say that now the training of astronauts is difficult, but still easier than when no one knew what awaited a man in space. Therefore, tested and trained "in excess". The trainings were brutal. German Titov recalls: “I remember they will put you in a chair fixed on a long beam, they will tie the body with all sorts of sensors and counters and begin to unwind. After a few seconds, you feel that a hellish burden is falling on you. As if the elephant stepped on the chest and crushes, crushes with all its elephant weight. The eyelids are filled with lead, fingers are made poods, and even inhaling and exhaling are incredible efforts, and doctors on a radiotelephone require that you explain to them in a popular way how you feel and what you see and think about. And what are you going to think about when the centrifuge is carried faster and faster, and the overloads reach the tenth fold? ”.
One of the tests was the chamber of silence – "the chamber of silence." A person for 10–15 days was completely isolated from the outside world and placed in conditions of absolute silence. It was necessary not to idle, to comply with a certain daily routine. A person who is in conditions of prolonged isolation, without access to external impressions and information, may experience various disorders, including hallucinations . Before the test in the isolation chamber, one of the future astronauts, George Shonin, decided to talk to Yura Gagarin so that he would advise how best to cope:
“… Yuri silently stared for a long time in the clear, but already autumnal faded sky. Then he suddenly asked:
– Tell me, do you have a favorite state of mind in which you can be infinitely long?
I was surprised and somewhat puzzled by this seemingly irrelevant question. But nevertheless, on reflection, I replied:
– Of course. I can spend hours watching the sky or sitting for a long time on the seashore and not stirring to listen to the surf. And I also love to look at the fire of a fire.
– And at this time you are talking, listening to people or music?
– Not. I’m leaving to myself. Everything disappears. And it usually seems to me that I am alone with sky, water or fire.
– And it never occurred to you that in all these three variants you dealt with the same object – silence? You listened to her silence!
I was surprised at this conclusion, although I did not object. It was necessary to think about it. And Yuri continued:
– Sometimes I completely surrendered to silence, which is even difficult to imagine. I have always loved silence. The silence of thought, the silence of labor … It is a pity that in our energetic XX century we are turning less and less to it, to silence! – Yuri sighed and added in a completely different tone: – You have the greatest opportunity for 15 days to think and work in absolute silence, to listen to her, dear. So take advantage of the opportunity! Now I understand what’s wrong?
Yes, I seem to understand. Yuri opened to me from a completely new side. It became clear why in the classroom, on the bus, in the woods while walking, even while exercising, this restless person could suddenly become silent and disconnect for a few minutes from everything around him ”.
From the conclusion of the commission about Yuri Gagarin at certification on August 23, 1960: “He likes spectacles with active action, where heroics, the will to win, the spirit of competition prevail. In sports games takes the place of the initiator, leader, captain of the team. As a rule, his will to win, endurance, sense of purpose, and the feeling of a collective play a role. Favorite word – "work." At the meeting makes sensible suggestions … It is very difficult, in fact impossible, to be out of balance. The mood is usually a bit high, probably because he has a head full of humor, laughter to the brim. At the same time soberly-sensible. Endowed with unlimited self-control. Workout transfers easily, works efficiently. Developed very harmoniously. Sincere. Pure body and soul. Polite, tactful, accurate to punctuality. He likes to repeat: ‟As taught!” Modest. He is embarrassed when he is "overwhelmed" in his jokes. The intellectual development of Jura is high. Great memory. It stands out among his comrades with a wide volume of active attention, quick-wittedness, quick response. Is persistent Carefully preparing for classes and workouts. Confidently manipulates the formulas of celestial mechanics and higher mathematics. Do not hesitate to defend the point of view, which he considers correct. It seems that he knows life more than some of his friends ".
Also, the leaders of the detachment and teachers noted that Gagarin had a lively natural mind. And Korolev pushed him to a great future in science, if Yuri received a higher education. By the way, shortly before his death, Gagarin graduated from the Academy of the Air Force to them.
One of the distinguishing features of Gagarin – he lived for others, not thinking about himself
One of the distinguishing features of the character of Gagarin – he lived for others, not thinking about himself. And in these tests, hard training, he also remained true to himself. He did not complain, but tried to cheer those who began to grumble and lose heart. And he was completely devoid of envy and rivalry. I was ready to sincerely rejoice at the success of others. It often happens that we are able to cry with crying people, less often – to rejoice with those who rejoice, and very rarely – to rejoice that someone has bypassed you in something. And Yura was happy. Sincerely. This property is genuine love.
Who should be the first astronaut? Who to choose from 20 beautiful guys? Why did the choice end up with just that? This question was asked and asked … Yuri Gagarin was definitely not the best in all indicators. In each of the types of tests stood out someone one of the group. But in general, according to physical characteristics, German Titov was considered to be the best. But … as the authors of many memoirs point out: “Yura was the most ordinary, like everyone else, but it was impossible not to notice him”. “Something was in it that immediately caught the eye, did not scream, but attracted more than any miracle magnet,” wrote Oleg Genrikovich Ivanovsky, lead designer of the first spacecraft . I think the secret is all in the same inner light of the soul, the light of love for people.
It is noteworthy that the leaders of the detachment conducted a survey among the children themselves: who, in their opinion, should be the first. Almost everyone called Gagarin. He himself wrote the name of Pavel Belyaev. Gagarin loved Sergei Pavlovich Korolev. The ability of Jura to not lose his coolness under any circumstances was important, while Titov had a somewhat explosive character, it could be “wound up”. But no one knew what was waiting for a man in space, from the first cosmonaut they waited for the boundless composure that distinguished Gagarin.
The leaders until the last could not decide who to send first: Titov or Gagarin
And yet, having narrowed the circle of candidates for the first flight to two people, the leaders almost until the last could not decide who to send first: Titov or Gagarin. It is difficult to say what specifically influenced the final choice.
In this regard, the discovery of Alexey Leonov seems remarkable: "I recently found a very interesting note in KE Tsiolkovsky, about which very few people know. He wrote: “I freely represent the first person to overcome gravity and fly into interplanetary space. And I can easily describe it. He is a Russian, a citizen of the Soviet Union, by profession, most likely a pilot. He has the courage of clever, devoid of spiritual recklessness. I represent his open Russian face, the blue eyes of a falcon. ” Tsiolkovsky wrote this in 1935. 26 years before the flight of Gagarin! Then Yuri and the year was not … I know for sure that when Yuri was chosen, this document was not known"  .
I would like to cite here a number of memories of Jura’s relatives about this period of his life. The older brother, Valentin Gagarin, says: “Now, after years, I recall his embarrassment when we attacked him with questions about the new work, and I understand how incredibly difficult it was for Jura in those moments. He never knew how to lie, truthfulness was perhaps the most visible feature in his character. Sometimes, in order not to offend us with silence or harsh response, he would say a forced half-truth: yes, flying, yes, jumping with a parachute, yes, doing sports. All this, they say, is necessary for a test pilot ”.
But the episode, preserved in the memory of the mother, Anna Timofeevna: “We knew only one thing about his work: he is busy from dawn to dusk, he is learning hard, goes in for sports, passes some tests. Now I remember: among a multitude of topics, I was also raising about the flight of sentient beings into space. They flew and returned to Earth in the dog’s spacecraft.
Once I noticed:
– So, perhaps, the man will fly.
– Fly! – loudly said Yura. Alexey Ivanovich entered the conversation:
– You, eh, going?
Not! There was no desire in this matter to find out about the Yuri plans. Alexey Ivanovich, as always, in conversation, tried to precipitate, in his opinion, an immodest person. He did not love bravado, did not forgive anyone. In response to his son he heard, right, immodesty, so he intervened. Yura answered him:
– Will charge and fly.
– Bye-bye-bye, you will fly! – with reproach mimicked Alexey Ivanovich. – There will need a scientist, do not you like.
Yura was not offended, laughed. Alexey Ivanovich was also satisfied: he did the educational work. We did not suspect that the son was hinting to us about his future ”.
So, just a few days before the intended launch, Yuri Gagarin was approved as the first cosmonaut. German Titov – doubler.
Was Gagarin worried? Sure. In addition to the usual human fear of the unknown, he knew all the risks well. He knew that the probability of a safe return was 50/50. But … everyone was amazed at the absolute calm of the Jura. He was not only outwardly completely calm, he still managed to encourage and soothe the very worried Queen and others in charge of the flight. The only thing he allowed himself, two days before the start, wrote a farewell letter to his wife, in which he expressed confidence that she would understand his step, which would adequately raise daughters, and asked to take care of their parents. He gave the letter to the detachment commander, General Nikolai Kamanin, and asked to be given to his wife if he did not return from the flight.
A professor, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Ada Ravgatovna Kotovskaya, who prepared for the flight of the first cosmonauts, recalls: “Was Yuri excited before the start? Yes! During the last test of the sensors and our recommendations, Yuri was silent, focused and very serious. Occasionally he sang verses from popular songs then, but he was more silent. Four hours before the start (I have a shot ECG), it was obvious that Yura was worried. But who would not worry! He simply knew how to restrain his emotions ”.
“At the beginning of April, Yura was leaving for another trip. I did not notice anything special. He only persistently repeated several times: Mom! Don’t leave Valya! ”Says Anna Timofeevna Gagarina. What the son had in mind, she understood only when, on the morning of April 12, a stunned daughter-in-law (wife of his son Valentina), who heard the message on the radio, came running to her with the news: “Mom! Our Yura is in space, the commander of a spacecraft! ”.
And here is a very characteristic episode for Gagarin. Evgeny Anatolyevich Karpov (Candidate of Medical Science, Head of the Cosmonaut Training Center) recalls:
“On April 5, 1961, that is, two weeks after the first visit to the cosmodrome, a group of astronauts again went to Baikonur. But now for direct participation in the grand event. They flew in two triples (one with Gagarin, the other with Titov) on two IL-14 aircraft. I found myself in a group with Gagarin and Popovich. With us and General N. P. Kamanin.
I again and again return mentally to the forthcoming flight into space, trying to imagine what the astronauts think about the risk associated with it. And they are passionate about chess. I was not up to chess, although I am not indifferent to them. Probably, I looked worried. Gagarin noticed, sits down in the next chair, starts a conversation:
– Yes, you do not worry, Evgeny Anatolyevich, everything will be fine. You will see.
– After all, you have passed the war. Tell me how it was?
I start with how, in Leningrad, which was blocked by the fascists, it was possible to quickly finish the Military Medical Academy … ”. Further, Evgeny Anatolyevich describes the conversation that ensued and notes: “And here, I confess, I wanted to embrace this young and very handsome man. For his curiosity, I acutely felt the great human kindness, attentiveness, and soulfulness of nature. After all, it was not without reason that Gagarin started this conversation, tried to distract me from hard thoughts … ”.
Information on how the historical flight itself took place was, until very recently, classified. But now you can easily find a recording of the report of Yuri Gagarin on April 13, 1961, where he tells the special commission in detail about his flight and answers the questions. Full audio recording available. And its decoding is given in a variety of publications and on the Internet. I will dwell on only a few points and note that some of the emergency situations that arose during the first manned flight into space could well lead to tragedy.
So, it all started with the fact that the start itself was delayed by about 2 hours. Gagarin was already sitting in the “East” cabin when it turned out that the leakage sensor was not working. I had to urgently unscrew the cover and put it back. Agonizing wait. But Yuri is calm, joking on the radio with the worried Korolyov, singing songs.
The moment of start. The famous "Let’s go!"
Interesting fact. Sensors were attached to Gagarin for medical professionals. So, his pulse, so normal, when a five-minute readiness was announced: 108, at the time of launch and recovery – 130-150 and more, in orbit – 97, when landing – 112 beats per minute. But outwardly he was calm and in an absolutely even, calm voice reported to the Earth about how the flight was going. Only delights sometimes could not hide: "What a beauty!"
Television communications allowed to receive the image of an astronaut. By the way, the information that the USSR sent a man into space literally immediately appeared at the disposal of our main competitors in the space race, the Americans. The USA had observation stations equipped with equipment capable of intercepting telemetry coming from Soviet satellites. Thus, the interception of data from the "East" began as soon as the ship came into view of the American stations. Data has been received and decrypted.
Gagarin made some simple experiments in orbit that he was assigned to. Carefully recorded, recorded what is happening on the tape.
The next trouble after the delayed start was that the orbit was higher than the calculated one, since the third-stage engine did not turn off in time. This was fraught with the fact that the ship in the event of an emergency situation will not be able to go out of orbit in time. About this Gagarin from the Earth decided not to report.
Everything was fine in orbit. But the TDU – the braking motor – worked on time, but it was non-standard. The ship began to tumble – rotate at high speed, "head-legs." And there was also no separation of the descent vehicle from the instrument compartment. This could lead to a catastrophe when entering the dense atmosphere. Gagarin understands: something has gone wrong, the situation is dangerous, but, on reflection, he decides: “you should not raise panic”. So he later said in his report. Separation nevertheless happened in about ten minutes, and then this carousel, rotation, stopped. The descent vehicle entered the dense layers of the earth’s atmosphere.
Due to the combination of problems, the descent was carried out along a sharper trajectory than expected. As a result, the overloads increased prohibitively, they reached 12 g instead of the expected 8-9 g. Yuri was trained to carry such overloads, but at some point his eyes darkened, everything swam, and only with a great effort of will he did not allow himself to disconnect.
The ball was burning from friction about the atmosphere, the melted skin flowed through the porthole
After that, Gagarin was waiting for another test. The ball – the descent vehicle – was burning from friction about the atmosphere, the molten skin flowed through the window, it was visible a flame, there was a crackle, the smell of burning was caught. It was not clear: it should be so or not. When, after the flight, his father asked Yura whether he was scared, he remembered exactly this episode – when he was flying in a fiery flaming ball.
The problems did not end there. The first cosmonauts landed separately from the descent vehicle – at the right moment there was a bailout. The descent vehicle landed on its parachute, and the astronaut on its own. So, when the ejection occurred, Gagarin did not open the breathing valve in his spacesuit – Yuri began to choke. It turned out that the cable through which air was supposed to flow got under his clothes when Gagarin was dressed in a spacesuit. 6 minutes, he tried to release this cable, until finally he managed to do it.
The next trouble was that Gagarin flew straight into the icy waters of the Volga. It was almost impossible to manage these two parachutes, but, fortunately, a rather heavy emergency reserve came off, which was attached to the spacesuit in case of a possible landing in various conditions (there was a supply of food, an inflatable boat, something else), and Gagarin carried the wind from the Volga. He landed on arable land. Landing was expected in Kazakhstan, but due to a combination of abnormal situations, Gagarin landed in the Saratov area, by an interesting coincidence, exactly where he started the pilot’s path.
Approximately 2 hours after landing, the first photos of the first astronaut were taken. On his face you can see the traces of the experienced. Fatigue, some kind of detachment, but at the same time – the same bright smile …
You endured. Returned. Embrace Native Land. The cosmos is behind … And in the heart and in the eyes left, you know, The trail of a stellar, but difficult path.
You are happy that you fulfilled the task, I stayed alive and realized the dream: To rise to the stars, to the secrets of the universe, To see the unearthly beauty.
And in front of the fanfare and the timpani, But you don’t think about it for now, Let the glory be vanity, wreaths and laurels – The river will take all the humility away.
And you will remain simple and modest. To love people, to serve them, to warm; And on Earth, and in the vast cosmos
Smiles with light will overcome the darkness You will be as before. And the victory of Everything is more complicated, you know, above yourself … And your life has remained a star track Above our blue planet … 
The land is empty without you …
After the flight, Gagarin no longer belonged to himself. He did not expect this. He did not wait and did not seek glory, it never even entered his head. He did not think at all that he was doing something outstanding or special, he was just doing his job. And when this fantastic, incredible glory fell upon him, it did not hurt him completely. Rather, he was embarrassed, disturbed. He tolerated it as a given. Where there was an opportunity, I tried to avoid magnificent meetings and receptions. “Fire and water” is easier to pass than “copper pipes”. This is known. But Gagarin endured this test with honor.
Here are his words: “I am the most ordinary. I am an ordinary Russian people, which are many. My comrades are more experienced and capable, and therefore they have been reserved for more complex tasks, since subsequent flights are more complicated than the first. And I was sent first as a less capable one. ” He also said: “We cannot afford to stop, relax, rest on our laurels. We will save the laurels for soup … ".
Loving people, he rejoiced with them and gave them joy. And the world not only admired the feat of the first cosmonaut, people responded with love to his love and the light of his soul. He was carried on his hands – not in a figurative, but literally, children were named in his honor in different countries, queues lined up for his autograph … And he knew how to be everything for everyone, knew how to find a common language with everyone – from ordinary people to Queen of England, to break the ice of prejudice, was not lost in any matters at press conferences and interviews. “From the ubiquitous boys … to monarchs and presidents – everyone was happy for his handshake, his autograph, his word. They took pictures of him, embraced him, gave him flowers, handed over orders, proclaimed an honorary citizen of cities and towns … Weigh in – is it easy to be in sight of the entire planet at the age of 27? ”
Felix Chuev, a Soviet poet, writer, publicist, who personally knew Gagarin, recalls: “What was he like? If I were asked to name the main thing in him, I would answer this way: sit with him for about ten minutes and forget that Gagarin is alive next to you, a person who carried such glory on his shoulders as he didn’t, I’m not mistaken, no one living throughout the history of our planet. It is probably not easy to carry it, so universal. “I was sweating from her,” he said. ".
And: “Nature, having endowed it with many good qualities, gave a diplomatic vein. He has done so much good for the Motherland abroad after he had paid attention to our country, even by those who knew almost nothing about the USSR. He made friends with us whole nations and nations. Seven years of his incredible fame and about thirty countries he visited were not only to see the world and show oneself, although it did matter. We did not have diplomatic relations with Brazil – they sent not a statesman, not a diplomat, but the first cosmonaut. When Gagarin got off the plane and got into the car, thousands of residents of the Brazilian capital picked up the car with him and carried him to the presidential palace. After this visit, our countries exchanged ambassadors … ”.
He did a lot in his short life, and you can tell a lot about a lot. I will give here just a few strokes, a few moments captured in the memory of those who knew Yuri Gagarin and make up the precious pattern on the canvas of his life.
Valentina Gagarina: “I still remember all the days when he was sad and tired, upset and even angry. But I do not remember his indifferent, indifferent … He lived for the people … ". – “He could not refuse. He considered every request compulsory and was tormented when he could not do something. He himself refused in many respects – in rest, in free time, in relaxation, which is sometimes so necessary, in some desires ”.
One evening they were calling from the entrance to the territory of Star City: an old man arrived from Siberia, waiting for Gagarin. I had to go to the checkpoint. It turned out that an elderly man of about 80 came to Moscow from somewhere in the Chita region with a request: to find the grave of a son who died in World War II. Yuri Alekseevich listened to him warmly, wrote down all the data, promised to help, gave him money for the way back. More than a year spent searching and found .
Gagarin answered all the letters that came in his name in a multitude. And the answers were not formal. He answered thoughtfully, seriously. Always tried to understand the person. They say he never condemned anyone, did not allow himself to speak ill of anyone. He loved the saying: “Everything comes in time for the one who can wait.”
Sergei Pavlovich Korolev: "Yura was a real Russian guy – honest and conscientious, open and cheerful, courageous and talented, valuing his good name and very loving people" .
Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov: “Perhaps attentive historians and biographers of Yuri Gagarin will find other words about the main things in his character, but we were especially admired in him by some kind of bottomless power and stability of simple human qualities – honesty, directness, sociability, hard work. And even such a flight, such glory could not a jot change it for the worse. And to be honest, this could happen to someone else. The flight only clearly revealed the human talent of Yuri. This was especially noticeable for those who started with him ”.
Pilot-cosmonaut Georgy Shonin: “Gagarin somehow in a special way, in his own way, perceived and felt the beauty. The beauty of nature, man … He found her everywhere, sometimes even where her presence could only be guessed ”.
Konstantin Petrovich Feoktistov (spacecraft development engineer, cosmonaut): “Yuri was a smart man who possessed an innate gift to instantly assess the situation, choose the right tone of conversation, find a common language with any interlocutor … Gagarin obviously didn’t like when he felt that someone is overlooked ”.
While walking in the woods with my wife: “You know what I think about? – suddenly turns his head, and his eyes are full of delight. “I want to rediscover the world every day.” 
In 1964, Gagarin, together with two comrades, went to the Trinity-Sergius Lavra. Dressed in civilian clothes, I thought they wouldn’t know. But, of course, found out, surrounded. They were “saved” by the Vicar, led to him. He spent on the monastery, to the shrines. In the church-archaeological study, Gagarin stood for a long time at the model of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, said: “What beauty they destroyed”! And, speaking in December 1965 at the plenum of the Central Committee of the Komsomol, from the podium proposed to restore this temple, as a monument to the victory in the war with Napoleon, and the Triumphal Arch. The Presidium literally didn’t get out of the chairs. Announced a break. Brezhnev then hushed up this episode.
Now you can hear: what did he say? But he did not propose to restore the temple as a temple, but only as a monument to the war of 1812. I want to ask such people in response: do you even imagine that era? What Gagarin said and how he said is evidence of his unconditional courage and great intelligence. Yes, the only way to be said! More precisely, even so it is impossible. And if it was not the first cosmonaut who said this, but someone else, he would have paid with very big troubles.
In the same trip to the monastery was such an episode, which recalls his companion Valentin Petrov, retired colonel of the Air Force, associate professor of the Air Force Academy: “When we were returning from the laurel that time, Yura unexpectedly said to me:‟ Valentine, think about the words: Soot thou in heaven ”. I opened my eyes: ‟Yuri Alekseevich, do you know prayers ?!” He says: ‟Do you think, do you know them alone?” ”.
Several times, together with his mother, Gagarin visited the famous Orthodox ascetic schema-monk Makarii (Artemyeva). Staritsa said: “He is very, very good. Childlike". Once she said to him: “Do not fly again. You can no longer fly. " When he died, the old woman Macarius called the priest, asked to give a voice in absentia. She prayed for the repose of his soul.
Yura experienced the death of Sergei Pavlovich Korolev very hard. Mother writes: “It seems to me that after the death of Sergei Pavlovich Korolev something has changed in the Jura”.
And when cosmonaut Vladimir Mikhailovich Komarov died, Yura literally turned black from grief. The flight of Vladimir Komarov was carried out on a fundamentally new spacecraft Soyuz, which was not yet ready for the manned flight, as evidenced by the tests. Gagarin made every effort, trying to reach the leadership, even wrote to Brezhnev, insisting that the flight should be postponed until there was confidence in the technology. But nothing is achieved. BUT
The last visit to his native Gzhatsk, December 4, 1967,