From peasant to soldier to astronaut to the first Soviet in space - a remarkable rise that was only possible because the state deemed it so. He brought great pride to his countrymen, people proven to wrap themselves in national pride when not wrapping themselves in a concentration camp pea jacket.
For every Soviet astronaut there were millions already dead or in captivity as political prisoners in the Gulag - where "zero sum" dynamics meant if you ate today, someone else didn't. While the manned space programs in the US and USSR both contributed to new weapons technologies, only the Soviet program was designed for first-strike use.
His is a story of great achievement and depression, and is now told in a book released today - Starman. We have our copy and look forward to reading it. Click the link below to order your copy!
Pictures from today's Yuri post at EnglishRussia.