Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Last Citizen Of The USSR

On this date in 1992, Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev returned to Earth after having spent a record breaking 311 consecutive days in space aboard the Mir space station in 1991 and 1992.  On his return he was dubbed, "the last citizen of the USSR" because the Soviet Union had crumbled beneath him while he sat aboard the Mir for all of that time. 

I remember being fascinated by that, and wondering what he must have been thinking, essentially marooned on a space station high above, entirely reliant on government technicians and scientists back down on Earth, watching helplessly as the entire Soviet system imploded, leaving confusion, lawlessness and human misery amid the rubble.

And you know what, I couldn't find any place where he commented on that.  Though as an epilogue, a few years later in 1994 he was the first Russian to fly aboard the Space Shuttle.  If you're interested, I found a photo of him online from 2006 that you can view HERE.  I was surprised by his movie star looks (especially for a 48 year old man), but was less surprised by the pony tail and goatee on the fan sitting next to him.

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