Six years after his space flight, Yuri Gagarin was killed in a plane crash during a training flight. His eldest daughter Elena is now the director general of Kremlin museums. In her interview with euronews Elena Gagarina reveals who her father was as a person.
“On the one hand, Yuri Gagarin was exceptionally committed to his service. A true military man, always reserved, a believer in discipline. But on the other hand, he was a very romantic person, because it takes a romantic to do what my father did.”
“When he was at home, my father was the same simple, charming, kind and cheerful man as he was known to other people, to his colleagues. But since he was continuing his studies at the military academy, he didn’t have too much time left for his children – he had to keep learning, had to prepare for his lectures. In addition to his service, he also had public duties. But whenever he could, he was gave us all his time.”
“Can you remember your family’s reaction to Yuri’s flight?”
“I was under the age of two at that time, so I do not remember it personally, and I don’t think it would be right to recount the sensations of others, but I can say that for the whole country and for the world that was an amazing and wonderful event that made a revolution in people’s minds. The history of mankind has a new chapter starting on 12 April 1961.”
“Did that event change Gagarin’s personality?”
“You know, it didn’t. The only thing was he become even more serious, more restrained in formal settings, but in an unofficial context he always remained very friendly, happy to answer everyone’s questions.”
However Gagarin’s life would be a tragically short one. As to how the family coped with his death, Elena had only this to say: “Let’s not talk about it…”