Who was the first Russian in space (not Soviet)?

Who was the first Russian in space (not Soviet)?

I know Yuri Gagarin was the first Soviet, and man, in space. Who was the first Russian (not Soviet) in space?

It is depending on your definition of a Russian.

Gagarin was born in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, so he was the first Russian in space.

Sergei Krikaljow (also a Russian) started as a citizen of the Soviet Union, when the Soviet Union was dissolved on December 26, 1991 he was in space. So he was the first citizen of the Russian Federation in space.

The first manned Soyuz after the end of the Soviet Union started on 17 March 1992 (Soyuz TM-14) with Alexander Viktorenko and Alexander Kaleri. It was Alexander Viktorenko third start, so he was also a Soviet Cosmonaut before. But it was Alexander Kaleri first spaceflight, so he may be the first 'pure' Russian cosmonaut.

I haven't checked for Russian cosmonauts, which were not trained during Soviet era.

Gherman Titov is up to now the youngest Cosmonaut (started at age of 25 in 1961). The Soviet Union ended 1991. That's now 25 years ago. So there is up to now no Russian astronaut who was not a citizen of the Soviet Union before.

Perhaps there is also an American astronaut with Russian origin?

If you are talking about ethnicity, then the answer is Gagarin, who was an ethnic Russian.

Heroes of Space: Alexei Leonov

Today spacewalks are an almost routine part of space exploration but the very first spacewalk by Alexei Leonov, who died last week at 85, was anything but straightforward.

Born in the Altai region of Siberia on May, 30 1934, he graduated from a selection of air force academies with honours and was quickly picked to be one of the first 20 cosmonauts for the Soviet space program.

Leonov had actually expected to become a professional artist, but his life took a very different turn, as he became a key player in the Space Race. In 1965 the Soviet Union was well ahead of the U.S. in the race to land humans on the moon: they had already launched the first satellite, animal, man and woman into space.

Launched on Voskhod 2, the world's 17th human spaceflight, on March 18, 1965, Leonov made history as the first person to exit his spacecraft for an extravehicular activity (EVA).

"The Earth is round!" he exclaimed, as he caught his first view of the world. "Stars were to my left, right, above and below me. The light of the sun was very intense and I felt its warmth on the part of my face that was not protected by a filter," said Leonov in a 2015 interview with the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) on the 50th anniversary of his spacewalk.

"What remain etched in my memory was the extraordinary silence," he said.

When the Soviet Union learned that the U.S. was planning the first spacewalk their efforts became focused on beating them to it. Leonov underwent 18 months of intensive weightlessness training and, while the U.S. spacewalk was scheduled for June, Leonov was first blasted into orbit on March 18, 1965.

Leonov shared the two-man Voskhod capsule with Pavel Belyayev and once it had completed one orbit, was given the all clear to begin his historic walk. He crawled into the airlock, opened the hatch, slid out and floated into space. The defining memory for Leonov, as he would later recount, was the all-encompassing silence of space.

"It was so quiet I could even hear my heart beat. I was surrounded by stars and was floating without much control. I will never forget the moment. I also felt an incredible sense of responsibility."

For a duration of 12 minutes and nine seconds, the cosmonaut conducted the first ever spacewalk, while connected to the spacecraft by a 5.4-metre (17.6-foot) tether. However, Leonov's true test of skill came when he attempted to return to the ship.

Experts had not foreseen the effect the vacuum of space would have on the cosmonaut's suit &mdash it was steadily inflating. As the difference in air pressure caused the suit to balloon out of shape, Leonov's hands were pushed out of the gloves and his feet out of his boots. In fact the suit had ballooned so much that he was unable to return through the airlock and to add even more danger, he only had five minutes before the craft would enter Earth's shadow and be plunged into total darkness.

Acting quickly, Leonov bled some air out of the suit by opening a valve. The suit slowly deflated, but he was already feeling the effects of decompression sickness, with pins and needles in his hands and legs.

Just in time, Leonov managed to force himself through the airlock headfirst and close the hatch behind him. However, Leonov's troubles were far from over: as the capsule attempted

to re-enter Earth's atmosphere it malfunctioned and after an emergency landing, Leonov and Belyayev found themselves hundreds of miles off course in a remote area of the Ural mountains.

For two freezing nights, the men waited in temperatures below zero before they were finally rescued. The Soviet Union were quick to celebrate the mission as a success, but it very nearly ended in disaster.

Leonov was hailed as a hero of the Soviet Union for his spacewalk, but it would be 10 years before he re-entered space. He served as commander on the 1975 Soyuz 19 mission, the first joint Soviet-U.S. space mission, called the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. His friendly demeanour and efforts to learn English impressed Americans and softened western perceptions of Russian cosmonauts.

After the mission, Leonov continued to play a major role in space exploration for many years, editing the cosmonaut newsletter 'Neptune' and overseeing crew training.

When Leonov entered the Soviet space program, it was focused on beating its American competitors, but when he retired in 1991, it was from a different organisation entirely, with Leonov describing the crew of his joint American and Soviet mission as, "Dear and intelligent people who decided to show all of humanity that we are different…but can work together."

Yuri Gagarin, first human in space, was a devout Christian, says his close friend

The first man in outer space 50 years ago believed fervently in the Almighty &mdash even though the atheistic Soviet government put famous words in his mouth that he had looked around at the cosmos and did not see God.

Mankind&rsquos first space flight lasted 108 minutes on April 12, 1961.

It was the height of the Cold War. Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was proclaimed by the Soviet leadership to have announced, &ldquoI went up to space, but I didn&rsquot encounter God.&rdquo

However, he never uttered those often-quoted words, says a close friend. And it seems that the Soviet Union lied about a number of aspects of the 1961 space flight.

For example, they covered up the fact that he landed more than 200 miles away from where they were expecting him, a new book discloses. The Soviets trumpeted his mission, the first manned flight into space, as a major Cold War propaganda coup, portraying it as a glitch-free triumph of Communist ideology, writes Russian journalist Anton Pervushin in his book, 108 Minutes That Changed the World.

Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, in line with the official atheistic Soviet line, proclaimed that Gagarin had told him the famous line about not seeing God in space. But nobody else ever heard Gagarin say it &ndashand he never repeated it.

In fact he was a baptized member of the Russian Orthodox Church. Due to Soviet repression of Christianity, he kept that to himself.

A new book published on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Gagarin&rsquos famous flight reveals that Soviet scientists severely miscalculated where he would land. &ldquoFor many years Soviet literature claimed that Yuri Gagarin and his Vostok I landing capsule had come down in the area it was supposed to,&rdquo writes Pervushin. &ldquoThey had been expecting Gagarin to land almost 250 miles further to the south So it turned out that nobody was waiting or looking for Yuri Gagarin. Therefore the first thing he had to do after landing was set off to look for people so he could tell the leadership where he was.&rdquo

The Soviets also lied about the manner of his landing, claiming that he had touched down inside the capsule &mdash which landed on dry land, unlike American space capsules, which splashed down in water. In fact, Gagarin bailed out and landed by parachute.

The book reveals a touching letter Gagarin wrote to his family before the mission in which he pondered his own mortality, telling his wife not to &ldquodie of grief&rdquo if he never returned. &ldquoAfter all life is life and there is no guarantee for anybody that tomorrow a car might not end one&rsquos life.&rdquo

Earlier, the Soviets had sent Laika, a dog, but had made no provision for her to return to earth &mdash so she died in orbit.

&ldquoGagarin also became well-known for the phrase he is said to have stated, a phrase that was used extensively by the atheist propaganda of the time,&rdquo writes Nafpaktos Hierotheos Vlachos, the head of today&rsquos Russian Orthodox Church. &ldquoAnd I say &lsquohe is said to have stated.'&rdquo

In fact, &ldquoGagarin was a baptized faithful throughout all his life,&rdquo says General Valentin Petrov, Professor of the Russian Air Force Academy and a personal friend of the cosmonaut. &ldquoHe always confessed God whenever he was provoked, no matter where he was.&rdquo

In a 2007 article titled &ldquoYuri Gagarin, the Christian,&rdquo by Maria Biniari, she wrote on his birthday in 1964, he visited a monastery, the Lavra of Saint Serge, and met with the Prior &mdash the monk in charge.

There, he had a photo taken of himself, which he told the priest &ldquothis is for those who don&rsquot believe.&rdquo He signed it &ldquowith my best wishes, Yuri Gagarin.&rdquo

&ldquoThat famous phrase which has been ascribed to him, well, in actual fact it was Khrushchev who had said it,&rdquo says Petrov. &ldquoIt was heard during a meeting of the Central Committee, whose desire it was to promulgate anti-religious propaganda.

&ldquoKhrushchev had mockingly addressed the following words: &lsquoWhy didn&rsquot you step on the brakes in front of God? Here is Gagarin, who flew up to space, and yet, even he didn&rsquot see God anywhere.&rsquo

&ldquoImmediately after that, those words were placed into another&rsquos mouth, because the people would have believed more in Gagarin&rsquos words than Khrushchev&rsquos,&rdquo says Petrov.

In fact, Gagarin should be remembered for completely different words, says his friend:

&rdquo I always remember that Yuri Gagarin said: &ldquoAn astronaut cannot be suspended in space and not have God in his mind and his heart.&rdquo

What Really Happened to Yuri Gagarin, the First Man in Space?

There have been a lot of groundbreaking firsts in human history, but only one person can claim to be the first in outer space. That's Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet cosmonaut who breached Earth's atmosphere and zipped into orbit in 1961.

He stood just 5 feet, 2 inches (1.57 meters). But in the lore of space exploration, Gagarin casts an enormously long shadow. In both life and death, he left a legacy brimming with both outstanding achievements . and unanswered questions.

A Winning Smile

Born in 1934 in Klushino, near Moscow, Gagarin was the son of a carpenter and a milkmaid. When he was still a child, Nazi forces invaded the U.S.S.R. and occupied the town. Everyone suffered – two of his siblings wound up in labor camps but survived the war.

Later, Gagarin attended various technical schools, but it was a flying club in Saratov that really grabbed his attention. Once he had his first taste of flight, he embraced his new passion and used his weekends learning to fly.

He joined the Soviet Air Force and became a full-fledged fighter pilot, gaining proficiency on planes like the MiG-15. In the meantime, he married Valentina Goryacheva, with whom he had two daughters.

In 1960, Soviet authorities chose 20 men to take part in the country's fledgling space program. The commission specified that the men be between 25 and 30 years old and less than 5 feet, 7 inches (1.57 meters) tall. Gagarin checked both boxes, and he was one of the lucky candidates selected for further training.

Then began rigorous physical training, which included dozens of parachute jumps over water, oxygen starvation tests, and isolation chamber procedures meant to weed out anyone who might melt down psychologically in space. Though the process was competitive, Gagarin stood out both for his physical skills and his exceptional personality.

He was charismatic, competent and simply likable, in part because of the ever-present smile on his face. His positive aura was a large part of why he was ultimately chosen for the Vostok 1 mission, just one week before launch. The Soviets knew that their soon-to-be-famous cosmonaut would need to look good in front of a camera for propaganda purposes. Gagarin's beaming smile fit the bill.

First Man in Space

On April 12, 1961, the rocket lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome. Just minutes later, the former farm boy was the first human in space.

"Gagarin was very charismatic and well liked within the cosmonaut corps," says Howard McCurdy, a space policy expert and public affairs professor at American University. "He was apparently fearless. While [Sergei] Korolev, the chief spaceflight engineer, was popping tranquilizers, Gagarin was sitting calmly in the capsule."

In 1961, very little was known about spaceflight and what would happen to a human who was in weightlessness for longer than a few seconds. So there was a lot riding on this. Gagarin orbited our planet just a single time (108 minutes). He reached a maximum height of 203 miles (327 kilometers). During the flight, he ate, drank and monitored the onboard systems.

"Gagarin had no control over his spacecraft," says McCurdy. "According to sources at NASA, flight controllers gave Gagarin a key to the controls for use in an emergency, which he did not use. Otherwise, he was just a passenger on the spacecraft."

Gagarin's return to Earth wasn't the tidy sort of splashdown that we're used to witnessing these days. Instead, it was like something dreamed up by scriptwriters for a "Mission: Impossible" movie.

"Gagarin did not land with his Vostok space capsule," says McCurdy. "He jumped out of it and parachuted to the ground. Sort of a hair-raising way to land."

Even before he landed, the Soviets were trumpeting the trailblazing spaceflight. His safe return guaranteed worldwide celebrity.

Hero of the Soviet Union

Streets were named for him, and he was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union by Nikita Khrushchev. Some called him the modern-day Christopher Columbus. He traveled the world, living proof of the success of the Soviet space program.

The celebrity cosmonaut visited dozens of countries in celebration of his incredible spaceflight – but he was barred from entering the United States. President John F. Kennedy wanted no part of celebrating the Soviet Union's accomplishment, which cast the U.S. as left behind in the Space Race.

Once his publicity tour ended, he slowly returned to flying. The air force promoted him multiple times, in large part to keep him out of airplanes and safely on the ground no one wanted their international superstar to die young.

Yet, his bout with fame was unsettling. Gagarin took to drinking heavily, which concerned his superiors.

Still, he trained for space, and was named a backup for the Soyuz 1 mission. Gagarin's good fortune held – the 1967 mission failed catastrophically when the landing module's parachute failed to open, ending with the first in-flight spacecraft fatality, Vladimir Komarov.

Gagarin gave up drinking the next year. He recommitted himself to flying, and even participated in aerospace engineering in hopes of helping to create a reusable spacecraft. In 1968, the famed pilot and cosmonaut took off on a routine training flight in a MiG-15UTI. Shortly thereafter, the plane crashed near the town of Kirzhach. Both Gagarin and flight instructor Vladimir Seryogin perished. Gagarin was just 32.

Immediately, the Soviets rushed to gloss over the incident, covering up details of the incident for decades. Lacking convincing explanations, conspiracy theories abounded – but none of them stuck.

In 2013, new evidence emerged thanks to the investigative work of Alexei Leonov, a former cosmonaut who was troubled by the death of his friend and fellow space traveler.

His (unconfirmed) explanation for the crash? An error in air traffic control. During the fateful flight, a Soviet Su-15, a model much larger than the hero's MiG-15, violated Gagarin's airspace. The turbulence caused Gagarin to lose control and ultimately plunge to his death.

Perhaps the embarrassment of losing a national icon to such a simple error was too much to admit publicly. Or maybe, as Leonov speculated, the authorities didn't want to make public that there was "a lapse" so close to Moscow. We may never know for sure. What we do know is that Gagarin's first and only space mission left an indelible mark on our world.

"People had been dreaming of flying in the air for millennia before the Wright Brothers achieved that in 1903," says Amy Foster, assistant history professor at the University of Central Florida, via email.

"The idea of humans flying in space was even more lofty. While both the United States and the Soviet Union had successfully launched living creatures by the time of Gagarin's flight, there were still questions about how the mission would affect a human. So, Gagarin's flight made flying in space not only achievable, but also a realistic endeavor."

Gagarin's final words before takeoff on that first flight into space were "Poyekhali!" or "Let's go!" The phrase became a common one in Russian speech, thanks to the cosmonaut.


Purported Czech information leak Edit

In December 1959, an alleged high-ranking Czech Communist leaked information about many purported unofficial space shots. Alexei Ledovsky was mentioned as being launched inside a converted R-5A rocket. Three more names of alleged cosmonauts claimed to have perished under similar circumstances were Andrei Mitkov, Sergei Shiborin and Maria Gromova. [2] In December 1959, the Italian news agency Continentale repeated the claims that a series of cosmonaut deaths on suborbital flights had been revealed by a high-ranking Czech communist. Continentale identified the cosmonauts as Alexei Ledowsky, Serenty Schriborin, Andrei Mitkow, and Maria Gromova. [3] No other evidence of Soviet sub-orbital crewed flights ever came to light. [2]

High-altitude equipment tests Edit

A 1959 edition of Ogoniok published an article and photos of three high-altitude parachutists: Colonel Pyotr Dolgov, Ivan Kachur, and Alexey Grachov. Official records state that Dolgov was killed on November 1, 1962, while carrying out a high-altitude parachute jump from a Volga balloon gondola. Dolgov jumped at an altitude of 28,640 metres (93,960 ft). The helmet visor of Dolgov's Sokol space suit hit part of the gondola as he exited, depressurizing the suit and killing him. [4] Kachur is known to have disappeared around this time his name has become linked to this equipment. [4] Grachov is thought to have been involved, with Dolgov and Kachur, in testing the high-altitude equipment. Russian journalist Yaroslav Golovanov suggested that high-altitude testing was exaggerated into a story that those parachutists died on a space flight. [4] In late 1959, Ogoniok carried pictures of a man identified as Gennady Zavadovsky testing high-altitude equipment (perhaps with Grachov and others). Zavadovsky would later appear on lists of dead cosmonauts, without a date of death or accident description. [4]

Golovanov, who researched the lost cosmonaut claims in his book, "Cosmonaut #1", found and interviewed the real Alexey Timofeyevich Belokonov, a retired high-altitude parachutist. In this interview, Belokonov revealed more about his colleagues Dolgov, Kachur, Mikhailov, Grachov, Zavadovsky and Ilyushin, and confirmed they never flew to space. According to Belokonov, in 1963, after New York Journal American published an article on lost cosmonauts, listing the parachutists among them, Soviet newspapers Izvestia and Krasnaya Zvezda published a refutation that included testimonies and photographs of the actual parachutists Belokonov, Kachur, Grachov and Zavadovsky. The parachutists also wrote an angry letter to New York Journal American editor William Randolph Hearst, Jr., which he ignored. [4]

Robert Heinlein Edit

In 1960, science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein wrote in his article Pravda means 'Truth ' (reprinted in Expanded Universe) that on May 15, 1960, while traveling in Vilnius, in the Soviet Lithuania, he was told by Red Army cadets that the Soviet Union had launched a human into orbit that day, but later the same day, it was denied by officials. Heinlein speculated that Korabl-Sputnik 1 was an orbital launch, later said to be uncrewed, and that the retro-rockets had fired in the wrong attitude, making recovery efforts unsuccessful. [5]

According to Gagarin's biography, these rumours were likely started as a result of two Vostok missions equipped with dummies (Ivan Ivanovich) and human voice tape recordings (to test if the radio worked) that were made just prior to Gagarin's flight. [6]


Sputnik's launch took US military officials by surprise and in 1958 NASA was created to take on the Russians' space superiority.

But in 1961, the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person to orbit Earth, traveling in the capsule-like spacecraft Vostok 1 - the US were still second in the space race.

Later that year, then-President John F. Kennedy made the bold claim that the US would land a man on the moon by the end of the decade, and NASA's budget was hiked by more than 500 per cent over the next four years.

NASA met Kennedy's lofty target in July 1969 when US astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin and Michael Collins set off on the Apollo 11 space mission.

Gagarin only went to space once, although did serve as a backup crew for the first Soyuz mission in 1967 that saw cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov killed when it crashed into he ground after a parachute failure during its return to Earth

Fearing for the life of a man that had become a national icon, Soviet officials banned Gagarin from further spaceflight after the Soyuz failure

Since Gagarin's flight hundreds of people have flown into space, with most travelling to the International Space Station - only 24 have gone beyond low Earth orbit

In the Soviet Union April 12, the day of Gagarin's (pictured) flight was marked as Cosmonautics Day, first observed in 1963 and still observed in modern Russia and some former Soviet states


The space race was a 20th-century competition between two super powers - the capitalist US and the communist Soviet Union.

Each super power waged a bitter campaign to prove the superiority of their space technology in a race that became symbolic of the Cold War era.

The race began in 1957 when a Russian ballistic missile launched the world's first ever man-made satellite to enter Earth's orbit, known as 'Sputnik'.

Sputnik's launch took US military officials by surprise and in 1958 the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) was created to take on the Russians' space superiority.

But in 1961, the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person to orbit Earth, traveling in the capsule-like spacecraft Vostok 1 - the US were still second in the space race.

Later that year, then-President John F. Kennedy made the bold claim that the US would land a man on the moon by the end of the decade, and Nasa's budget was hiked by more than 500 per cent over the next four years.

Armstrong would go on to become the first man on the moon - effectively ending the Cold War.

To mark the 60th anniversary of Gagarin's first flight, Russia's state controlled international television network, RT, has digitally restore the speech he gave a year after his trip to space.

They used neural networks and machine learning to restore, add colour and refresh the imagery and audio from archive frames recorded on 35mm film.

'Dear friends! Today is the day of the first anniversary of the first manned flight into space in the history of mankind, 'says Gagarin in his speech.

He noted that the flight of the Soviet spaceship 'Vostok-1' opened not only a new faith in space exploration, but also 'was a messenger of peace and goodwill' to all the people on Earth.

Since the days of the space race, travel has been restricted primarily to low Earth orbit, including trips to various space stations, including the ISS.

To date 553 people have travelled to space from 37 countries with just 24 going beyond low Earth orbit.

People from the US make up 61% of all space travellers or 339 people, followed by Russia at 21% or 121 people.

The next highest number of travellers from a single country is Japan at 12 people, or 2% of all people that have journeyed into space.

Yuri Night, also known as the 'World Space Party' is an international even observed since 2011 and this year will stream live on YouTube for free.

Next year it will be 50 years since the last humans went further than low Earth orbit, when the NASA Apollo 17 crew landed on the moon.

The next time astronauts will leave low Earth orbit is expected to happen in 2023 when a crew on Artemis II will orbit the moon.

The year after Artemis III will take the first woman and the next man to land on the surface of the moon for the first time since 1972.

Going forward the first humans to land on another planet is expected to happen in 2035, when an extended Artemis mission will land on Mars.

In a video produced by RT, Gagarin's first anniversary speech has been restored and colourised


Born with Columbia, it was NASA's longest-running space exploration programme.

Atlantis was launched in 1985.

The next-to-youngest in Nasa's fleet remains at Kennedy Space Center as a museum display.

This grand finale came 50 years to the day that Gus Grissom became the second American in space, just half a year ahead of Glenn.

Atlantis - the last of Nasa's three surviving shuttles to retire - performed as admirably during descent as it did throughout the 13-day flight.

A full year's worth of food and other supplies were dropped off at the space station, just in case the upcoming commercial deliveries get delayed.

The international partners - Russia, Europe, Japan - will carry the load in the meantime.

Not all 1,333 days in space have been a success, however.

Two of the shuttles - Challenger and Columbia - were destroyed, one at launch, the other during the ride home.

It could happen before then if Elon Musk gets the SpaceX Starship spacecraft ready for a proposed crewed Mars trip in 2026.

The most recent flight to space saw NASA's Mark Vande Hei, Soyuz Commander Oleg Novitskly and Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos travel in a Soyuz capsule to the ISS, 254 miles above the Earth.

Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Galactic said he has dreamed of experiencing the view of Earth from space - as first seen by Yuri Gagarin - since he was a child watching the moon landings.

'Today, we celebrate International Day of Human Spaceflight with the commercial space industry on the cusp of turning my dream, and thousands of others, into a reality by regularly flying private astronauts into space.

'This is the dawn of a new space age and I feel even more passionate about the future of space travel now than I did when Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon.'

Chris Hadfield, former Canadian astronaut and Virgin Galactic advisor said spaceflight is hard and magnificent, an achievement 'worthy of recognition.'

'April 12 is the 60th anniversary of an immensely brave man who forged our way into the unknown, Yuri Gagarin, and I respect and honor him for it.

'Every astronaut since then, from Al Shepard to the international Soyuz crew that launched to the space station last week, has followed in Yuri's footsteps.'

With the rise in commercial space travel, from firms like Virgin Galactic, the number of people recognised as astronauts will increase exponentially.

'I'm glad that all those who complete a spaceflight with Virgin Galactic will also be recognized by the Association of Space Explorers,' said Virgin Galactic Chief Astronaut Instructor Beth Moses.

'It's an honor to be recognized by an organization which counts so many pioneers of space exploration among its members.

'I'm looking forward to working with them to continue to inspire and educate people around the advantages of seeing the world's problems from the perspective of space.'

NASA will land the first woman and next man on the Moon in 2024 as part of the Artemis mission

Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the Moon in Greek mythology.

NASA has chosen her to personify its path back to the Moon, which will see astronauts return to the lunar surface by 2024 - including the first woman and the next man.

Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the Moon and Mars.

Artemis 1 will be the first integrated flight test of NASA’s deep space exploration system: the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the ground systems at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Artemis 1 will be an uncrewed flight that will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration, and demonstrate our commitment and capability to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond.

During this flight, the spacecraft will launch on the most powerful rocket in the world and fly farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown.

It will travel 280,000 miles (450,600 km) from Earth, thousands of miles beyond the Moon over the course of about a three-week mission.

Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the Moon and Mars. This graphic explains the various stages of the mission

Orion will stay in space longer than any ship for astronauts has done without docking to a space station and return home faster and hotter than ever before.

With this first exploration mission, NASA is leading the next steps of human exploration into deep space where astronauts will build and begin testing the systems near the Moon needed for lunar surface missions and exploration to other destinations farther from Earth, including Mars.

The will take crew on a different trajectory and test Orion’s critical systems with humans aboard.

The SLS rocket will from an initial configuration capable of sending more than 26 metric tons to the Moon, to a final configuration that can send at least 45 metric tons.

Together, Orion, SLS and the ground systems at Kennedy will be able to meet the most challenging crew and cargo mission needs in deep space.

Eventually NASA seeks to establish a sustainable human presence on the Moon by 2028 as a result of the Artemis mission.

The space agency hopes this colony will uncover new scientific discoveries, demonstrate new technological advancements and lay the foundation for private companies to build a lunar economy.

Ivan Ivanovich and the Persistent Lost Cosmonaut Conspiracy

On March 25 1961, in the countryside not far from Perm, an ancient city in the heart of Soviet Russia, an ejector seat parachuted from a space capsule. A recovery crew, aided by local villagers, eventually located the craft’s snowbound crash site and its passenger. Who was this mysterious space traveler? No human being had yet flown in space. Could it come from another world? Or even worse, perhaps it came from the decadent West? The previous summer, an American U-2 spy plane had been shot down and its pilot, Gary Powers, paraded before the world media. What if this mysterious visitor was a spy?

The loud noise that heralded the craft’s reentry sounded like an anti-aircraft rocket. The officials warned the curious away, stating it was just a dummy. When rescuers finally reached the ejector seat, they rushed to the lifeless figure in a strange flight suit. And there he sat — Ivan Ivanovich (the Russian equivalent of John Doe). Affixed to Ivan was a sign with a single word: MAKET (model). Ivan was a dummy. A cinematographer employed to record the flight recalled the frustration of the volunteer rescuers when they discovered they’d expended all that effort for a dummy. Ivan wasn’t welcomed to Earth with a salute or a bouquet of flowers as later cosmonauts would be, instead he received a punch to the face.

Ivan Ivanovich flew aboard Korabl Sputnik 5, part of a test program designed to pave the way for the Soviet Union’s Vostok program, the crewed effort they hoped would beat the Americans by launching the first human being into space. This was the second flight of a flight test dummy. The first, using Ivan’s identical twin, had taken place earlier that month on March 9.

The Soviet program was renowned for its secrecy. Information about flights was carefully controlled. On the one hand, this meant the Soviets were able to use this cloak of mystery to appear one step ahead of the game it’s easier to say you’re on track if you don’t set a public deadline. On the other hand, it created a climate where rumor and speculation flourished. In this atmosphere of limited information, intense anticipation over the prospect of human spaceflight, and Cold War fears, a rumor took root: The Soviets had covered up deaths in space —the Lost Cosmonaut Conspiracy.

The rumors began in the late 1950s, but grew in volume during the Korabl-Sputnik program. They drew on garbled retellings of the recovery of Korabl-Sputnik capsules, and the engrained depictions in the US of the Soviets as secretive and untrustworthy. With each retelling they became more astounding. Cosmonauts had been killed on impact, driven mad in space, doomed forever to circle the Earth when their capsules refused to re-enter. In May 1960, the tenacious anti-communist senator Henry Jackson alleged that the official designation of the Korabl-Sputniks as unmanned were an elaborate cover-up for a series of disastrous failed crewed missions. The Soviets revealed little about their future plans. Korabl-Sputnik was part of a colossal, intensive effort to prepare for the first manned Vostok flight, but to many observers, Soviet secrecy and denials merely proved they had something to hide.

Amateur radio enthusiasts got in on the act the Judica-Cordiglia brothers from Italy achieved considerable notoriety with their repeated stories of intercepting Lost Cosmonaut transmissions. They managed to parlay their fame into a game-show performance where they won a trip to the US to visit NASA facilities.

On April 12 1961, several weeks after Ivan’s flight, a grinning 27-year-old Soviet Air Force officer, Yuri Gagarin, became the first human space traveler aboard the spacecraft Vostok 1. America had barely recovered from the shock of Gagarin’s flight when Gherman Titov, sometimes known as the poet of space, became cosmonaut number two in August of that year. If anything, the cacophony of confusion and recrimination that followed these flights intensified the Lost Cosmonaut rumors. It was only when President John F. Kennedy confirmed that the flights had actually taken place that many Americans reluctantly acknowledged Titov and Gagarin as genuine space pioneers and not elaborate publicity ruses.

Nevertheless, the barrage of propaganda that accompanied each new Soviet space spectacular, and the nigh-impenetrable shroud of secrecy about how those flights were accomplished, meant the Lost Cosmonauts continued to pop up like unexpected phantoms on a ghost train ride throughout the heated space race years of the 1960s. The Washington Post columnist Drew Pearson depicted himself waging a one-man war against Kremlin secrecy, penning numerous columns about supposed Soviet space disasters. Reports became increasingly elaborate: mixed-gender crews of doomed Soviets were apparently heard lamenting, “Remember us to the Motherland! We are lost! We are lost!” as they realized rescue was impossible and their spacecraft had become their tombs.

So potent was the Lost Cosmonaut Conspiracy that it impacted on the reporting of genuine Soviet space disasters such as the death of cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov when his Soyuz 1 spacecraft’s parachute malfunctioned during reentry in 1967, and the deaths of the Soyuz 11 crew in 1971 during another reentry accident. The left-wing magazine Ramparts, which thrived in the mistrust of the Watergate era, quoted a supposed ex-NSA eavesdropper who’d apparently overheard Komarov exchange a tearful farewell with his wife and an angry denunciation of the Soviet system to Mission Control and the Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin. Littered with far-fetched and dubious details, this account nevertheless shows how influential the Lost Cosmonauts were.

The Soviets were aware of the rumors their secrecy encouraged, and they knew their rivals were prepared to think the worst of them. Ivan’s flight was needed to test the microphone and transmission system for future cosmonauts. But to use a recorded human voice risked fanning the flames of the Lost Cosmonaut stories. One technician suggested using a record of singing. Singing in space? The designers countered, the Western eavesdroppers would assume the cosmonaut had gone mad. A compromise was settled on, a recording of a choir. Even the gullible Capitalists wouldn’t assume the ship could fit a choir in it, and a recording of a recipe for borscht would also be used. So Ivan Ivanovich flew around the world alternately singing and declaiming a recipe for beetroot soup.

The Lost Cosmonaut rumors have been persuasively debunked as far back as the mid-1960s. It is now known that the Soviets did cover up disasters and accidents within the space program, but there is no evidence to suggest they ever covered up any deaths in orbit. In 1960, a launch pad explosion of an unmanned rocket killed the important Soviet Air Force official Marshal Mitrofan Nedelin, and approximately 120 other personnel. Additionally, a cosmonaut trainee Valentin Bondarenko died in a horrific fire in the oxygen-rich atmosphere of an isolation test chamber. The growing openness of “Glasnost” in the USSR in the 1980s exposed these disasters to both a Soviet people who were hungry for the truth, and to curious American experts. The impact of Glasnost in rewriting Soviet history was so great that in 1988 Soviet high school history exams were cancelled because revelations about the past had rendered their textbooks useless. However, amidst the torrent of startling revelations about the chaos and infighting of the Soviet space program that lurked behind its pristine public façade, there was no evidence to corroborate the Lost Cosmonauts theory.

While Yuri Gagarin and Valentina Tereshkova were feted and celebrated as heroes, Ivan was locked away for decades in a secret museum, inaccessible to the public. The billionaire businessman, philanthropist, and presidential candidate Ross Perot purchased a large amount of Soviet space memorabilia at auction in the 1990s. It was with that collection that Ivan made his way to his current home at the Smithsonian, out of the shadows and, finally, face to face with the public — a reminder of the extreme distrust that flourished between the USSR and the West during the Cold War.

Cosmonaut Crashed Into Earth 'Crying In Rage'

So there's a cosmonaut up in space, circling the globe, convinced he will never make it back to Earth he's on the phone with Alexei Kosygin — then a high official of the Soviet Union — who is crying because he, too, thinks the cosmonaut will die.

Vladimir Komarov's remains in an open casket RIA Novosti/Photo Researchers Inc. hide caption

Vladimir Komarov's remains in an open casket

RIA Novosti/Photo Researchers Inc.

The space vehicle is shoddily constructed, running dangerously low on fuel its parachutes — though no one knows this — won't work and the cosmonaut, Vladimir Komarov, is about to, literally, crash full speed into Earth, his body turning molten on impact. As he heads to his doom, U.S. listening posts in Turkey hear him crying in rage, "cursing the people who had put him inside a botched spaceship."

This extraordinarily intimate account of the 1967 death of a Russian cosmonaut appears in a new book, Starman, by Jamie Doran and Piers Bizony, to be published next month. The authors base their narrative principally on revelations from a KGB officer, Venyamin Ivanovich Russayev, and previous reporting by Yaroslav Golovanov in Pravda. This version — if it's true — is beyond shocking.

Gagarin (left) and Komarov out hunting RIA Novosti /Photo Researchers, Inc hide caption

Gagarin (left) and Komarov out hunting

RIA Novosti /Photo Researchers, Inc

Starman tells the story of a friendship between two cosmonauts, Vladimir Kamarov and Soviet hero Yuri Gagarin, the first human to reach outer space. The two men were close they socialized, hunted and drank together.

In 1967, both men were assigned to the same Earth-orbiting mission, and both knew the space capsule was not safe to fly. Komarov told friends he knew he would probably die. But he wouldn't back out because he didn't want Gagarin to die. Gagarin would have been his replacement.

The story begins around 1967, when Leonid Brezhnev, leader of the Soviet Union, decided to stage a spectacular midspace rendezvous between two Soviet spaceships.

The plan was to launch a capsule, the Soyuz 1, with Komarov inside. The next day, a second vehicle would take off, with two additional cosmonauts the two vehicles would meet, dock, Komarov would crawl from one vehicle to the other, exchanging places with a colleague, and come home in the second ship. It would be, Brezhnev hoped, a Soviet triumph on the 50th anniversary of the Communist revolution. Brezhnev made it very clear he wanted this to happen.

The problem was Gagarin. Already a Soviet hero, the first man ever in space, he and some senior technicians had inspected the Soyuz 1 and had found 203 structural problems — serious problems that would make this machine dangerous to navigate in space. The mission, Gagarin suggested, should be postponed.

He'll die instead of me. We've got to take care of him.

Komarov talking about Gagarin

The question was: Who would tell Brezhnev? Gagarin wrote a 10-page memo and gave it to his best friend in the KGB, Venyamin Russayev, but nobody dared send it up the chain of command. Everyone who saw that memo, including Russayev, was demoted, fired or sent to diplomatic Siberia. With less than a month to go before the launch, Komarov realized postponement was not an option. He met with Russayev, the now-demoted KGB agent, and said, "I'm not going to make it back from this flight."

Russayev asked, Why not refuse? According to the authors, Komarov answered: "If I don't make this flight, they'll send the backup pilot instead." That was Yuri Gagarin. Vladimir Komarov couldn't do that to his friend. "That's Yura," the book quotes him saying, "and he'll die instead of me. We've got to take care of him." Komarov then burst into tears.

On launch day, April 23, 1967, a Russian journalist, Yaroslav Golovanov, reported that Gagarin showed up at the launch site and demanded to be put into a spacesuit, though no one was expecting him to fly. Golovanov called this behavior "a sudden caprice," though afterward some observers thought Gagarin was trying to muscle onto the flight to save his friend. The Soyuz left Earth with Komarov on board.

Once the Soyuz began to orbit the Earth, the failures began. Antennas didn't open properly. Power was compromised. Navigation proved difficult. The next day's launch had to be canceled. And worse, Komarov's chances for a safe return to Earth were dwindling fast.

All the while, U.S. intelligence was listening in. The National Security Agency had a facility at an Air Force base near Istanbul. Previous reports said that U.S. listeners knew something was wrong but couldn't make out the words. In this account, an NSA analyst, identified in the book as Perry Fellwock, described overhearing Komarov tell ground control officials he knew he was about to die. Fellwock described how Soviet premier Alexei Kosygin called on a video phone to tell him he was a hero. Komarov's wife was also on the call to talk about what to say to their children. Kosygin was crying.

When the capsule began its descent and the parachutes failed to open, the book describes how American intelligence "picked up [Komarov's] cries of rage as he plunged to his death."

Listen to Komarov as the Soyuz capsule began to fail

On the Internet (89 cents at Amazon.com) I found what may have been Komarov's last words:

Some translators hear him say, "Heat is rising in the capsule." He also uses the word "killed" — presumably to describe what the engineers had done to him.

Americans Died, Too

Both sides in the 1960s race to space knew these missions were dangerous. We sometimes forget how dangerous. In January of that same year, 1967, Americans Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee died in a fire inside an Apollo capsule.

The Nixon White House prepared this letter in the event that American astronauts did not survive the Apollo 11 mission. NARA hide caption

Two years later, when Americans landed on the moon, the Nixon White House had a just-in-case statement, prepared by speechwriter William Safire, announcing the death of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, had they been marooned or killed. Death was not unexpected.

Valentina Komarov, the widow of Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov, kisses a photograph of her dead husband during his official funeral, held in Moscow's Red Square on April 26, 1967. AFP/Getty Images hide caption

Valentina Komarov, the widow of Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov, kisses a photograph of her dead husband during his official funeral, held in Moscow's Red Square on April 26, 1967.

But Vladimir Komarov's death seems to have been almost scripted. Yuri Gagarin said as much in an interview he gave to Pravda weeks after the crash. He sharply criticized the officials who had let his friend fly.

Komarov was honored with a state funeral. Only a chipped heel bone survived the crash. Three weeks later, Yuri Gagarin went to see his KGB friend. He wanted to talk about what happened. As the book describes it:

Gagarin met Russayev at his family apartment but refused to speak in any of the rooms because he was worried about bugs. The lifts and lobby areas were not safe, either, so the two men trudged up and down the apartment block's echoing stairwells.

The Gagarin of 1967 was very different from the carefree young man of 1961. Komarov's death had placed an enormous burden of guilt on his shoulders. At one point Gagarin said, "I must go to see the main man [Brezhnev] personally." He was profoundly depressed that he hadn't been able to persuade Brezhnev to cancel Komarov's launch.

Shortly before Gagarin left, the intensity of his anger became obvious. "I'll get through to him [Brezhnev] somehow, and if I ever find out he knew about the situation and still let everything happen, then I know exactly what I'm going to do." Russayev goes on, "I don't know exactly what Yuri had in mind. Maybe a good punch in the face." Russayev warned Gagarin to be cautious as far as Brezhnev was concerned. "I told him, 'Talk to me first before you do anything. I warn you, be very careful.' "

The authors then mention a rumor, never proven (and to my mind, most unlikely), that one day Gagarin did have a moment with Brezhnev and he threw a drink in Brezhnev's face.

Yuri Gagarin died in a plane accident in 1968, a year before the Americans reached the moon.

Jamie Doran and Piers Bizony's book is Starman: The Truth Behind the Legend of Yuri Gagarin (Walker Publishing 2011) Yaroslav Golovanov's interview with Yuri Gagarin was published in Komsomolskaya, Pravda, June 11, 1989. Venyamin Russayev's stories about Gagarin and Komarov appeared in 2006 in Literaturnaya Gazeta and were republished on several websites.

From Sputnik to Vostok

Dubbed ‘Semyorka’, the R-7 was sufficiently powerful to put a satellite into orbit. However, as the development of a science payload took longer than planned, Korolev's team designed a ‘minimum satellite’. Sputnik 1, the first satellite to be placed in orbit, was launched on 4 October 1957 and its ‘beep-beep’ signal shook the world.

To build on this resounding success, in less than one month Korolev and his team designed a second satellite. On 3 November, just in time for the 40th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution and before the first (failed) US attempt to launch a satellite, Sputnik 2 was launched. On board was the dog Laika, the first animal to orbit Earth. Korolev and the R-7 rapidly scored yet more firsts: the first probe to the Moon, the first picture of the far side of the Moon and the first probes to Venus and Mars.

The next big challenge was to place a man into orbit and return him safely to Earth. To achieve this, Korolev decided to modify a spy satellite concept and turn it into a human spacecraft by replacing the imaging payload with an ejection seat. After a series of test flights using dummy astronauts and dogs, Vostok was launched into space by an improved version of the R-7 rocket on 12 April 1961. On board was Yuri Gagarin.


Goods uncovered from archaeological site such as Pazyryk indicates that nomads inhabiting the area conducted trading activities with India during 4th-3rd century BCE. [17] In 1468, Russian traveller Afanasy Nikitin began his journey to India. Between 1468 and 1472, he travelled through Persia, India and the Ottoman Empire. The documentation of his experiences during this journey is compiled in the book The Journey Beyond Three Seas (Khozheniye za tri morya). [18] In 18th century the Russian cities Astrakhan, Moscow and St. Petersburg were frequently visited by Indian merchants. Russia was used as a transit trade between Western Europe and India. [19]

In 1801, Tsar Paul ordered plans made for the invasion of British India by 22,000 Cossacks, which never actually occurred due to poor handling of preparations. The intention was that Russia would form an alliance with France, and attack the British Empire and its weak point using a French corps of 35,000 men and a Russian corps of 25,000 infantry and 10,000 mounted Cossacks. Some Cossacks had approached Orenburg when the tsar was assassinated. His successor Alexander I immediately cancelled the plans. [20]

A cordial relationship with India that began in the 1950s represented the most successful of the Soviet attempts to foster closer relations with Third World countries. [21] The relationship began with a visit by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to the Soviet Union in June 1955, and First Secretary of the Communist Party Nikita Khrushchev's return trip to India in the fall of 1955. While in India, Khrushchev announced that the Soviet Union supported Indian sovereignty over the disputed territory of the Kashmir region and over Portuguese coastal enclaves such as Goa.

The Soviet Union's strong relations with India had a negative impact upon both Soviet relations with the People's Republic of China and Indian relations with the PRC, during the Khrushchev period. The Soviet Union declared its neutrality during the 1959 border dispute and the Sino-Indian war of October 1962, although the Chinese strongly objected. The Soviet Union gave India substantial economic and military assistance during the Khrushchev period, and by 1960 India had received more Soviet assistance than China had. [22] This disparity became another point of contention in Sino-Soviet relations. In 1962 the Soviet Union agreed to transfer technology to co-produce the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 jet fighter in India, which the Soviet Union had earlier denied to China. [22] [23]

In 1965 the Soviet Union served successfully as peace broker between India and Pakistan after an Indian-Pakistani border war. The Soviet Chairman of the Council of Ministers, literally Premier of the Soviet Union, Alexei Kosygin, met with representatives of India and Pakistan and helped them negotiate an end to the military conflict over Kashmir.

In 1971 the former East Pakistan region initiated an effort to secede from its political union with West Pakistan. India supported the secession and, as a guarantee against possible Chinese entrance into the conflict on the side of West Pakistan, it signed with the Soviet Union the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation in August 1971. In December, India entered the conflict and ensured the victory of the secessionists and the establishment of the new state of Bangladesh.

Relations between the Soviet Union and India did not suffer much during the right-wing Janata Party's coalition government in the late 1970s, although India did move to establish better economic and military relations with Western countries. To counter these efforts by India to diversify its relations, the Soviet Union proffered additional weaponry and economic assistance.

During the 1980s, despite the 1984 assassination by Sikh separatists of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the mainstay of cordial Indian-Soviet relations, India maintained a close relationship with the Soviet Union. Indicating the high priority of relations with the Soviet Union in Indian foreign policy, the new Indian Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, visited the Soviet Union on his first state visit abroad in May 1985 and signed two long-term economic agreements with the Soviet Union. According to Rejaul Karim Laskar, a scholar of Indian foreign policy, during this visit, Rajiv Gandhi developed a personal rapport with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. [24] In turn, Gorbachev's first visit to a Third World state was his meeting with Rajiv Gandhi in New Delhi in late 1986. General Secretary Gorbachev unsuccessfully urged Rajiv Gandhi to help the Soviet Union set up an Asian collective security system. Gorbachev's advocacy of this proposal, which had also been made by Leonid Brezhnev, was an indication of continuing Soviet interest in using close relations with India as a means of containing China. With the improvement of Sino-Soviet relations in the late 1980s, containing China had less of a priority, but close relations with India remained important as an example of Gorbachev's new Third World policy.

Relations with India have always been and I am sure will be one of the most important foreign policy priorities of our country. Our mutual ties of friendship are filled with sympathy, and trust, and openness. And we must say frankly that they were never overshadowed by disagreements or conflict. This understanding - this is indeed the common heritage of our peoples. It is valued and cherished in our country, in Russia, and in India. And we are rightfully proud of so close, so close relations between our countries.

We are confident that India lives in the hearts of every Russian. In the same way, I can assure you that Russia also lives in our souls as a Homeland, as people who share our emotions, our feelings of mutual respect and constant friendship. Long live our friendship!

". India-Russia relationship is one of deep friendship and mutual confidence that would not be affected by transient political trends. Russia has been a pillar of strength at difficult moments in India's history. India will always reciprocate this support. Russia is and will remain our most important defense partner and a key partner for our energy security, both on nuclear energy and hydrocarbons,"

Political relations Edit

The first major political initiative, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, between India and Russia began with the Strategic Partnership signed between the two countries in 2000. President Vladimir Putin stated in an article written by him in the Hindu, "The Declaration on Strategic Partnership between India and Russia signed in October 2000 became a truly historic step". [27] [28] Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also agreed with his counterpart by stated in speech given during President Putin's 2012 visit to India, "President Putin is a valued friend of India and the original architect of the India-Russia strategic partnership". [29] Both countries closely collaborate on matters of shared national interest these include at the UN, BRICS, G20 and SCO. Russia also strongly supports India receiving a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. [10] In addition, Russia has vocally backed India joining the NSG [30] and APEC. [31] Moreover, it has also expressed interest in joining SAARC with observer status in which India is a founding member. [12] [32]

Russia currently is one of only two countries in the world (the other being Japan) that has a mechanism for annual ministerial-level defence reviews with India. [1] The Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission (IRIGC) is one of the largest and most comprehensive governmental mechanisms that India has had with any country internationally. Almost every department from the Government of India attends it. [1]

Relations have deteriorated recently due to India's anti-China stance. Russian foreign minister, Sergey Larvov, accused the West of trying to undermine Russia's close partnership with India. He added that India is being used as an object by the Western powers. [33]


The Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission (IRIGC) is the main body that conducts affairs at the governmental level between both countries. [8] Some have described it as the steering committee of Indo-Russia relations. [8] It is divided into two parts, the first covering Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Co-operation. This is normally co-chaired by the Russian Deputy Prime Minister and the Indian External Affairs Minister. The second part of the commission covers Military Technical Co-operation this is co-chaired by the two countries respective Defence Ministers. Both parts of IRIGC meet annually. [8]

In addition, to the IRIGC there are other bodies that conduct economic relations between the two countries. These include, the Indo-Russian Forum on Trade and Investment, the India-Russia Business Council, the India-Russia Trade, Investment and Technology Promotion Council and the India-Russia Chamber of Commerce. [34]

An article penned by Vladimir Putin was published in The Times of India on 30 May 2017, a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Russia, to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of relations between India and the Russia on 13 April 1947. [35] [36]

Military relationship Edit

The Soviet Union was an important supplier of defence equipment for several decades, and this role has been inherited by the Russian federation. Russia 68%, USA 14% and Israel 7.2% are the major arms suppliers to India (2012-2016), and India and Russia have deepened their Make in India defence manufacturing cooperation by signing agreements for the construction of naval frigates, KA-226T twin-engine utility helicopters (joint venture (JV) to make 60 in Russia and 140 in India), Brahmos cruise missile (JV with 50.5% India and 49.5% Russia) (Dec 2017 update). [37] In December 1988, an India–Russia co-operation agreement was signed, which resulted in the sale of a multitude of defence equipment to India and also the emergence of the countries as development partners as opposed to purely a buyer-seller relationship, including the joint ventures projects to develop and produce the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) and the Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA). The agreement is pending a 10-year extension. [38] In 1997, Russia and India signed a ten-year agreement for further military-technical cooperation encompassed a wide range of activities, including the purchase of completed weaponry, joint development and production, and joint marketing of armaments and military technologies. [39]

Now, the co-operation is not limited to a buyer-seller relationship but includes joint research and development, training, service to service contacts, including joint exercises. The last joint naval exercises took place in April 2007 in the Sea of Japan and joint airborne exercises were held in September 2007 in Russia. An Inter-Governmental commission on military-technical co-operation is co-chaired by the defence ministers of the two countries. The seventh session of this Inter-Governmental Commission was held in October 2007 in Moscow. During the visit, an agreement on joint development and production of prospective multi-role fighters was signed between the two countries.

In 2012, both countries signed a defence deal worth $2.9 billion during President Putin's visit to India for the 42 new Sukhois to be produced under licence by defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics, which will add to the 230 Sukhois earlier contracted from Russia. Overall, the price tag for the 272 Sukhois - three of the over 170 inducted till now have crashed - stands at over $12 billion. The medium-lift Mi-17 V5 helicopters (59 for IAF and 12 for home ministry/BSF) will add to the 80 such choppers already being inducted under a $1.34 billion deal inked in 2008. The value of India's defence projects with Russia will further zoom north after the imminent inking of the final design contract for the joint development of a futuristic stealth fifth-generation fighter. This R&D contract is itself pegged at US$11 billion, to be shared equally by the two countries. So if India inducts over 200 of these 5th Gen fighters, as it hopes to do from 2022 onwards, the overall cost of this gigantic project for India will come to around US$35 billion since each of the jets will come for upwards of US$100 million at least. [28]

In October 2018, India inked the historic agreement worth US$5.43 billion with Russia to procure five S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile defence system, the most powerful missile defence system in the world ignoring America's CAATSA act. The United States threatened India with sanctions over India's decision to buy the S-400 missile defense system from Russia. [40]

India and Russia have several major joint military programmes including:

Between 2013 and 2018, Russia accounted for 62% of arms sales to India, down from 79% between 2008 and 2012. [41]

Additionally, India has purchased/leased various military hardware from Russia:

    (purchase pending) [41] 200 to be made in India under the Make in India initiative. with over 1000 to be built in India nuclear submarine (2 to be leased with an option to buy when the lease expires) aircraft carrier programme (4 ordered, not delivered)
  • US$900 million upgrade of MiG-29 (80 ordered) more in Service. Candid (6 ordered to fit IsraeliPhalcon radar)
  • The Farkhor Air Base in Tajikistan is currently jointly operated by Indian Air Force and Tajikistan Air Force.

Economic relations Edit

Bilateral trade between both countries is concentrated in key value chain sectors. These sectors include highly diversified segments such as machinery, electronics, aerospace, automobile, commercial shipping, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, fertilisers, apparels, precious stones, industrial metals, petroleum products, coal, high-end tea and coffee products. [42] Bilateral trade in 2002 stood at $1.5 billion [43] and increased by over 7 times to $11 billion in 2012 [44] and with both governments setting a bilateral trade target of $30 billion by 2025. [3] [45] [42] Bilaterial bodies that conduct economic relations between the two countries include IRIGC, the Indo-Russian Forum on Trade and Investment, the India-Russia Business Council, the India-Russia Trade, Investment and Technology Promotion Council, the India-Russia CEOs' Council and the India-Russia Chamber of Commerce. [42] [46]

Both Governments have jointly developed an economic strategy that involves using a number of economic components to increase future bilateral trade. These include development of an FTA between India & the EEU, a bilateral treaty on the promotion and protection of investments, a new economic planning mechanism built into IRIGC, simplication of customs procedures, new long-term agreements in the expansion of energy trade including nuclear, oil and gas. [47] [48] Finally, long term supplier contracts in key sectors such as oil, gas and rough diamonds. Companies such as Rosneft, Gazprom, Essar & Alrosa will act as long term suppliers respectively. [48]

Russia has stated it will co-operate with India on its "Make in India" initiative by engagement in the development of "Smart Cites", the DMIC, the aerospace sector, the commercial nuclear sector and enhancement in manufacturing of Russian military products through co-development and co-production. [3] [49] [50] [51] Russia agreed to participate in the vast, over $100 billion, DMIC infrastructure project which will eventually connect Delhi and Mumbai with railways, highways, ports, interconnecting smart cities and industrial parks. [3] Russian President Vladimir Putin stated in an interview that one of his government's priorities was of building a smart city in India, "a smart city on the basis of Russian technologies." [52] AFK Sistema will likely be the primary Russian company involved in the project due to its previous experience in smart city projects in Ufa, Kazan and Rostov. [53]

Both countries have also agreed to work together in the aerospace sector to co-development and co-produce aircraft, examples include the Sukhoi Superjet 100, MS-21, FGFA, MTA and Kamov Ka-226. [50] Some of the co-developed aircraft will be jointly commercially exported to third countries and foreign markets e.g. FGFA and Kamov Ka-226. President of Russia's UAC Mikhail Pogosyan stated in an interview, "We are planning to sell in India about 100 passenger aircraft by 2030, which will account for 10 percent of the Indian market of airliners in the segment" and further stated, "The unprecedented scope of Russian-Indian cooperation in military aviation has created a scientific and engineering basis for undertaking joint projects in civil aviation." [50]

India is currently the world's largest cutting & polishing centre for diamonds. Both countries have agreed to streamline their bilateral trade in diamonds through reductions in regulations and tariffs. Indian Prime Minister Modi stated in an interview, "I made three proposals to President Putin. First, I would like Alrosa to have direct long-term contracts with more Indian companies. I am pleased to know that they are moving in this direction. Second, I want Alrosa and others to trade directly on our diamond bourse. We have decided to create a Special Notified Zone where mining companies can trade diamonds on consignment basis and re-export unsold ones. Third, I asked to reform regulation so that Russia can send rough diamonds to India and reimport polished diamonds without extra duties". [54] [55] Analysts predict through streamlined procedures and initiatives bilateral trade in this area will significantly increase. [51]

Russia has agreed to build more than 20 nuclear reactors over the next 20 year. [49] [56] Russian president stated in an interview, "It contains plans to build over 20 nuclear power units in India, as well as cooperation in building Russia-designed nuclear power stations in third countries, in the joint extraction of natural uranium, production of nuclear fuel and waste elimination." [49] In 2012 Gazprom Group and India's GAIL agreed to LNG shipments to India of 2.5 million tons a year for the period of 20 years. LNG shipments for this contract are expected to begin anytime between 2017–21. [57] Indian oil companies have invested in the Russia's oil sector a notable example is ONGC-Videsh which has invested over $8 billion with major stakes in oil fields such Sakhalin-1. [58] In joint statement released by both governments they stated, "It is expected that Indian companies will strongly participate in projects related to new oil and gas fields in the territory of the Russian Federation. The sides will study the possibilities of building a hydrocarbon pipeline system, connecting the Russian Federation with India." [3]

Officials from both countries have discussed how to increase co-operation between their countries respective IT industries. Russian Minister of Communication Nikolai Nikiforov stated in an interview, "The development of IT products and software has traditionally been a strong point of India. We welcome possible joint projects in the field and closer contacts between Russian and Indian companies." [59]

Due to India simplifying recent visa rule changes for Russians travelling to India, the number of tourists increased by over 22%. [60] In 2011 the Indian consulates in Moscow, Vladivostok and St. Petersburg issued 160,000 visas, an increase of over 50% compared to 2010. [60]

Both the countries set the investment target of $30 billion by 2025. Since they met the target by 2018, India and Russia expect to enhance the figure to $50 billion. India also proposed to set up a special economic zone for Russian companies. [ citation needed ]

On 5 September 2019, India pledged a USD 1 billion line of credit (concessional loans) for the development of Russia's far east. [61]

Russian imports from India amounted to $3.1 billion or 1% of its overall imports, and 0.7% of India's overall exports in 2014. The 10 major commodities exported from India to Russia were: [62] [63]

Indian commodities exports to Russia (2014) [62] [63]
Product category Quantity ($ million)
Pharmaceuticals $819.1
Electronic equipment $382.3
Machines, engines, pumps $159.4
Iron and steel $149.1
Clothing (not knit or crochet) $135.7
Coffee, tea and spices $131.7
Tobacco $113.9
Vehicles $111.1
Knit or crochet clothing $97.9
Other food preparations $77.7

Russian exports to India amounted to $6.2 billion or 1.3% of its overall exports, and 0.9% of India's overall imports in 2014. The 10 major commodities exported from Russia to India were: [64] [65]