In London, the Russian space exhibition starts

Yuriy Gagarin , first  man in space  1961  April 12


LONDON, September 17. The British at the opening in London of the Russian space exhibition will be able to see something that is not available to most Russians – engines of ballistic missiles with space  “scars”,  personal things of astronauts, subjects of their life in orbit, and even cosmic showers.


The official opening ceremony of the exhibition “The astronauts: the birth of the Space Era” at London’s Science Museum will be held on Thursday with the participation of high-ranking guests from Moscow, including Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets, the first woman cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, the director of the Moscow Kremlin Museums, the daughter of the first cosmonaut Elena Gagarina. For the public exhibition will be opened on Friday, September 18. It will work until March 13, 2016.


The exhibition was to be held last year, but was delayed because of problems with the provision of guarantees from the British side. From Moscow it was brought rare exhibits related to the Soviet space program and had never exported outside of Russia. The exposition was prepared in collaboration with the Moscow Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics and the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos).


Space Diplomacy

“Space exhibition, opens a very important page in the history of the Soviet, Russian state.” –  in an interview with RIA Novosti special representative of Russian President for International Cultural Cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoi  said – “We were pioneers in this space project – this is one of the largest in the history of our country, indicating the high intellectual level and capacity”, – said the Special Representative.

He noted that “Russia today often positioned as a country with rich energy resources”, but it is important “to reflect it as a country with the highest scientific and technological potential and intelligence.”

This event – “a perfect example of that cultural cooperation between Russia and Britain continues to unite our country in times of political differences,” commented the eve of the opening of the exhibition the Russian ambassador in London Alexander Yakovenko.


“The exhibition opens, and we can share not only the knowledge and experience that is acquired in preparation for space flight, but also to talk about plans for the future of the Russian space program,” – he said yesterday at a gala evening Valentina Tereshkova.

British WW II Veteran Gives His Arctic Convoy Medal to Russia

British WW II   Veteran  Gives His Arctic Convoy Medal to Russia

MOSCOW, November 29 (RIA Novosti) – A British war veteran involved in shipping military supplies to the Soviet Union by sea during World War II on Friday presented his recently awarded medal for his role in the campaign to Russia.

James Pitts, 89, handed his Arctic Star to Moscow’s Museum of the Great Patriotic War, the museum said on its website.

Pitts was on two Arctic Convoys that shipped British and US supplies across the Norwegian Sea and the Arctic Ocean to the Soviets during World War II under the constant threat of attacks by Nazi Germany’s navy, the Kriegsmarine.

In 2012, the British government established a number of awards for World War II campaigns, including the Arctic Star for people who participated in campaigns above the Arctic Circle.

Many veterans have volunteered to hand over their Arctic Stars to Russia in a sign of recognition of the Soviet Union’s input in the war, the museum said.

The veterans drew lots to choose who would part with their medal, which was then taken to Russia by ship from London, retracing the Arctic Convoy’s route.

Pitts flew to Moscow with his fellow veterans for the handover ceremony and a tour of Moscow, the museum said.

Victory Day in London remembers Russian-UK cooperation

Victory Day in London remembers Russian-UK cooperation

LONDON, May 9 (By Howard Amos for RIA Novosti) – A record number of wreaths were laid at the Soviet War Memorial in London on Wednesday during a commemoration of the Soviet and British soldiers who served in the Second World War.

The gathering, attended by over 300 people, included the Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko, representatives from the Embassies of 11 former Soviet republics, local politicians and veterans from both sides.

Over 50 wreaths were laid during the event, which takes place annually, in the grounds outside London’s Imperial War Museum.

“It’s a big honor to take part,” said Vladimir Soldatov, 84, who served on a torpedo boat in the Northern Fleet in 1944 and 1945. On the invitation of the British Embassy he had flown from Moscow to be present.

“There was particular mutual respect on torpedo boats [because] the lives of everyone depended on each of us,” said Soldatov.

The political relationship between London and Moscow has been under severe strain for a number of years, and co-operation during the Second World War was held up as an example to be emulated by attendees.

“Victory has never been a source of contention between our two countries,” said Russian Ambassador Yakovenko and added that British Prime Minister David Cameron and President Vladimir Putin will meet Friday in Sochi.

Such a face-to-face meeting is a rare occurrence, and is expected to focus on differences over the ongoing civil war in Syria.

“If we are to avoid mass bloodshed and war, we have to learn to spend less on arms and defense and soldiers and bombs and nuclear weapons and more on conflict prevention,” said Simon Hughes, a senior member of Britain’s Liberal Democrat Party and a supporter of the Soviet War Memorial, which was unveiled in 1999.

The most famous military links between Britain and the Soviet Union in the Second World War were the Arctic convoys delivering supplies to the northern Russian ports of Murmansk and Arkhangelsk.

Ken Burkenshaw was 16 when he joined the British Royal Navy and subsequently made nine trips to Russia on the cruiser HMS Sheffield, which was part of the escort force for Arctic convoys.

Temperatures could get as low as -40 degrees, he said. “You will never forget that sort of thing… If you didn’t wrap up you didn’t survive.”

There were a total of 78 Arctic convoys between 1941 and 1945, departing from North America and Iceland, as well as Britain. Over 100 ships were sunk by Nazi aircraft and submarines, and thousands of sailors lost their lives.

Then-British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called the Arctic sea lanes to Russia “the worst journey in the world.”

But it was not all ice, death and inhospitable seas.

“Our service was the best years of our youth,” said Soldatov, whose Soviet torpedo boat would meet the incoming convoys near the Medvezhi Islands in the Kara Sea.

Burkenshaw said he was never allowed ashore in Murmansk, but he would not forget the muscled Russian stevedores who assisted in re-stocking his ship.

“All the dockyard workers there were women,” he said, indicating the size of their arms with his hands. “I wouldn’t have liked to fall out with one of them!”

The annual remembrance services are organized by the Soviet Memorial Trust Fund, a body that was set-up to raise funds in Britain and Russia for a memorial to the Soviet victims of the Second World War.

In addition to Embassies, local officials, and veteran organizations, wreaths were laid Wednesday by the Russian Embassy School, London’s Marx Memorial Library, the British Communist Party and Red Army re-enactment group the 2nd Guards Rifle Division.

Charles Downs, who was attending the event for the first time, served as a deck boy on a Polish ship in Britain’s Merchant Navy during the Second World War and made two trips to Russia.
One medal on his chest stood out because of its shininess: the Arctic Star, awarded earlier this year by the U.K. government to all those who served on the Arctic convoys.

“I applied for it and they sent it through the post,” he said.

Downs returned to Murmansk and Arkhangelsk last year on a holiday cruise and can speak a few words of Russian.

But during his time first time traveling through the Arctic as a 16 year-old boy, his ship was carrying a cargo of food, airplanes in crates and electrical generators.

“We had very heavy escorts and were very well protected,” he said.

“But we were bombed going out… about 40 torpedo aircraft attacked us and two of the ships were lost.”