Rare photos of Yury Gagarin in everyday life

Yury Abramochkin/russiainphoto.ru; TASS
The images of the first man in space in his cosmonaut suit have gone around the whole world. However, we still hardly know what this legendary man was like in real life.

After April 12, 1961, Yury Gagarin became a true hero and superstar. Everyone in the Soviet Union was proud of him and people were happy to see him even just from afar.

Gagarin was born into a poor family in Russia’s countryside. He wasn’t a very tall man, was very humble and could charm anyone with his iconic smile. Contemporaries recall that he was very easy going. He wasn’t ready for the enormous fame that he suddenly found. And he remained a shy and quiet person, always decent and honest and what a true Soviet man and Soviet officer should have been.

Gagarin posing in 1965

Preparing to parachute, 1960

Gagarin posing in his car, 1961

Going through morning exercises, 1961

Flexing for the cameras, 1963

On holidays in Sochi, 1961

Playing billiard, 1961

Fishin in his native village, 1961

Gagarin waterskiing on holidays, 1965

Gagarin in his cabinet, 1967

Gagarin tenderly loved his wife Valentina (who passed away in March 2020) and his two daughters: Elena (which is now director of Moscow Kremlin Museums) and Galina (she became professor of economics).  

Gagarin with wife Valentina and newborn Galina, 1961

Photography as a hobby, 1963

Gagarin reading with his daughters, 1965

Gagarin with daughter Galina on holidays, 1966

Gagarin having fun with family, 1967-68

Friends and colleagues recalled that Gagarin liked to have fun and laugh. Engineer Yevgeny Shilnikov working with Gagarin recalled that the first man in space had a favorite anecdote that he liked to tell in company. 

“A sparrow flies in the skies and suddenly a rocket flies towards him at a very high speed. The sparrow asks, ‘Why are you flying that fast?’ And the rocket replies: “If someone burns your ass, you will fly even faster!’”

Gagarin on holidays in Crimea, 1961

Cosmonauts Yury Gagarin, Valentina Tereshkova and Alexei Leonov, 1965

Filming a New Year show, 1963

Yury Gagarin and photographer Yury Abramochkin, 1961

Gagarin playing hockey, 1963

Gagarin with friends on a picnic, 1963

Gagarin in a carnival costume, 1965

Cosmonauts Yury Gagarin (L) and Alexei Leonov in costumes during Neptune Day celebrations, 1965

Also, check out our YouTube video about popular Gagarin-related myths!

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