Monument to first man in space dismantled in Kiev – media

Lazy eyes listen


A bust honouring Soviet cosmonaut Yury Gagarin, the first man in space, was demolished in Kiev on Monday, according to local media, citing witnesses and images posted on social media.

The monument, which was located in the eastern section of the Ukrainian capital, was removed off its pedestal, according to Ukrainian newspaper Our Kiev. It is unclear whether its removal was requested by Ukrainian officials or was initiated by local inhabitants. The bust’s current location is also unknown.

After Gagarin visited Kiev in the 1960s, the granite bust was constructed at the local youth centre. The visit happened after the Soviet cosmonaut famously completed the first successful crewed spaceflight in human history on April 12, 1961, completing one orbit around Earth.

Gagarin’s historic achievement inspired artists in Russia and abroad, with memorials to the cosmonaut created not just across the Soviet nations, but also in the UK Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London, and NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Centre Headquarters in Houston.

Meanwhile, Ukraine began its battle against Soviet-related monuments in 2015, following the passage of a decommunization law that, in practise, applies to all Russia-related structures. This campaign only became more intense after the crisis between Moscow and Kiev began in February 2022.

Last month, Kiev revoked honorary citizenship from late Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, who was born in Ukraine, citing the action as “another step towards eliminating the legacy of the former Communist regime.”