Юбилей первой женщины в космосе / Birthday Celebrations for the First Woman in Space

Valentina Tereshkova

Audio Content: On her eightieth birthday, Valentina Tereshkova reminisces about her groundbreaking flight into space. The post also includes a few examples of heartfelt, formal Russian birthday congratulations and an interesting exchange that shows what governing looks like in the Putin era.
Video Content: Great archival images of Tereshkova’s training and space flight and of her life today as a member of the Duma.

Links to two videos are below.

The Soviet Union was responsible for many of humanity’s space firsts, including the first artificial satellite put into orbit, the first man in space and the first woman in space. The first man in space, the beloved hero Yuri Gagarin, died in a jet crash while still in his 30s, but the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, has enjoyed a long public career in the space program and in politics. She is currently a deputy in the Duma representing her native region, Yaroslavl Oblast.

Tereshkova celebrated her 80th birthday on March 6th, 2017 and was prominently featured in news reports that day. The videos below remind viewers of her history: how she was a simple worker at a textile factory in Yaroslavl, participated avidly in a local aviation and parachuting group, was chosen as one of five finalists for the project of sending a woman into space and launched into orbit on June 16, 1963. Tereshkova’s reminiscences are interspersed with archival footage of her training and flight.

The videos are also of interest for a few other reasons. They include an excellent example of the sort of greeting that might be extended to someone in Russia on her birthday — typically very warm, even gushy, somewhat lengthy and formal (see the end of video one). Video two, in which Vladimir Putin offers gifts and congratulations to Tereshkova, offers an interesting view of the public image of governance in a more or less authoritarian, single-party-dominant political system: Tereshkova thanks Putin for sending Yaroslavl a great new governor, Putin thanks her for her support, and everyone ostensibly is working together for the good of the region with none of what Putin might view as the ineffective squabbling of a democracy. Finally, we also encounter some contradictory Russian views of gender, at least as they tend to be expressed on one of the mass-audience federal television channels. In the first video in the news report (actually video two below) the anchor early on refers to Tereshkova as a representative of the “отнюдь не слабый пол” “the definitely-not-weaker sex.” But later, in the second segment (video one below), the elaborate celebration of Tereshkova ends with a reference to women as “представителницы слабого пола” “representatives of the weaker sex”! The term is casually employed for variety and rhetorical flourish. The two uses manage, in the one instance, to acknowledge the derogatory implications of the term and, in the other instance, to present it as an innocuous reference to physical differences.

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Russian Transcript

Video One

Valentina Tereshkova

Watch the video at Первый канал

0:00
Ведущая: Добрые пожелания в адрес Валентины Терешковой сегодня звучат от ее коллег по парламенту, друзей и просто тех, кто помнит, как она вписала новую строчку в историю космонавтики. […]

0:20 – 1:15
Терешкова: Вот ты сидишь, последние уже остаются минуты. Дрожит воздух, земля…

Ведущий: Она слетала в космос лишь один раз, чтобы навсегда остаться легендой. И очень жалеет, что другого шанса отправиться к звездам так и не случилось.

Терешкова: Есть огромное желание. И полёт снится довольно часто. Но нам с Юрой сказали: “Сидите на Земле.”

Ведущий: Эти слова она говорила накануне юбилея, приехав в свой родной Ярославль. Ведь именно здесь началась ее головокружительная история. Вот на этой фабрике, у этого ткацкого станка.

Терешкова: По молодости помимо работы я еще училась в техникуме, я еще прыгала с парашютом. Девяносто прыжков в Ярославском аэроклубе. И на сушу и в Волгу мы прыгали.

[Images of the astronaut training program. Tereshkova was one of five candidates.]

1:25
Инструктор: Ты села в кабину коробля. Какие твои действия?

Молодая Терешкова: Я должна проверить работу оборудивания.

[Tereshkova underwent more than a year of training, including practice in a centrifuge and ten days spent in an isolation chamber.]

1:50
Терешкова [О сурдокамере]: Я читала Некрасова, я рассказывала про Волгу. Я читала и Пушкина, и своего любимого Лермонтова.

[Images of the flight on June 16, 1963. Reports at the time said everything went smoothly, but decades later Tereshkova revealed that there was a serious technical problem.]

2:20
Терешкова: Это случилось, когда выведен был корабль, и я обратила внимание, что я не смогу вернутся на Землю, что корабль был сориентирован не на сталкивание корабля с орбиты, а наоборот, на подъем орбиты. Я доложила на Землю, я получила, какие нужно выставить координаты, все сделала.

[Tereshkova spent almost three days orbiting the earth and returned as a hero. Her former coworkers at the factory celebrated her. She became a major public figure and worked in politics.]

Inscription on the wall of the factory where Tereshkova worked: Молодец, Валя!!!

3:35
Дмитрий Миронов, исполняющий обязанности губернатора Ярославской области: Когда нет заседаний Государственной Думы, когда депутаты работают в регионах, она находится именно здесь. Она приезжает ко мне, спрашивает: «Дмитрий Юрьевич, какие проблемы? Какие вопросы? Чем необходимо помочь? Я готова активно включаться в работу». И мы совместно с ней намечаем те дела, которые необходимо решить в первую очередь.

[Today an exhibit on Tereshkova opened in the Duma, and everyone there gave her birthday greetings.]

4:05
Вячеслав Володин, председатель Государственной Думы: Вы рисковали. И вот то, что можно было посмотреть на выставке — мы увидели, этот риск был настолько велик, то, что вы могли не вернуться. Вы там были одна, но вы вернулись. И мы рады тому, что вы с нами. Поэтому здоровья вам, счастья, оставайтесь больше с нами, как можно дольше, вот, потому что вас все любят, мы вас особо, потому что мы рядом. Спасибо вам большое.

Терешкова: Спасибо большое.

[Tereshkova is a family woman too.]

4:40
Елена, дочь Терешковой: В жизни она очень комфортная, уютная и домашняя. Мама с самой большой буквы и бабушка. Она, правда, не любит это слово «бабушка», но у нее есть два внука, которых она очень любит, и дети мои в ней просто души не чают.

Ведущая: В истории космонавтики Валентина Терешкова навсегда останется не только первой, но еще и единственной женщиной, которая совершила одиночный полет в космос. Ведь после нее все другие представительницы слабого пола, для которых она открыла звезды, летали уже в составе экипажей.

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Video Two

Tereshkova with Putin

Watch the video at Первый канал

0:35
Путин: Позвольте вас искренне и сердечно поздравить с вашим юбилеем.

Терешкова: Спасибо большое, я тронута. Спасибо огромное.

Путин: Вам спасибо большое за ваше служение отечеству. Начиная вот с вашего легендарного полета в космос вы всегда были для нас примером и символом служения отечеству, причем в разных местах, на разных должностях – и сейчас продолжаете активно трудиться в Государственной Думе.

[Tereshkova’s code name during her training and flight was “Чайка” (“seagull”). Thus Putin gave Tereshkova a seagull sculpture and a painting of a seagull over the Volga River as birthday gifts. Then they sit at the table to discuss her political work in Yaroslavl Oblast, where she grew up. The new acting governor there is Dmitri Mironov.]

1:30
Терешкова: Огромное вам спасибо за Ярославль, за то, что вы прислали нам человека, который вот уже сейчас и ведет встречи, и посещает города, и встречается не только с рабочими на предприятиях, но и с жителями, то есть начало хорошее. А мы стараемся всячески помогать.

Путин: Ему нужна будет ваша поддержка. Я знаю, что действительно реально выкладывается, что называется, старается. Еще много нужно будет сделать для того, чтобы… для того чтобы люди поверили и поддержали его».

Терешкова: Мы постараемся.

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English Translation

Video One

0:00
Anchor: Warm wishes addressed to Valentina Tereshkova are resounding today from her colleagues in the parliament, from her friends and simply from those who remember how she wrote a new line into the history of space science. […]

0:20 – 1:15
Tereshkova: You’re sitting there, it’s already the final minutes remaining. The air trembles, the earth…

Anchor: She made a trip into space just one time, which resulted in her remaining a legend forever. And she really regrets that another chance to set off to the stars didn’t end up happening.

Tereshkova: [I have] a great desire. And the flight appears fairly often in my dreams. But they said to Yura [Yuri Gagarin] and me, “Sit on Earth.”

Anchor: She spoke these words on the day before her birthday [“jubilee”–used for a special “round number” birthday], having traveled to her native Yaroslavl. After all, it was precisely here where her dizzying story began. Here at this factory, at this weaving machine.

Tereshkova: Because of my youth, besides work I also studied at the technical institute, I also jumped with a parachute. Ninety jumps as part of the Yaroslavl aviation club. We jumped both onto land and into the Volga [River].

[Images of the astronaut training program. Tereshkova was one of five candidates.]

1:25
Instructor: You’ve taken your seat in the cabin of the spaceship. What are your actions?

Young Tereshkova: I should check the functioning of the equipment.

[Tereshkova underwent more than a year of training, including practice in a centrifuge and ten days spent in an isolation chamber.]

1:50
Tereshkova [with reference to the isolation chamber]: I read Nekrasov, I told stories about the Volga. I read both Pushkin and Lermontov, my favorite.

[Images of the flight on June 16, 1963. Reports at the time said everything went smoothly, but decades later Tereshkova revealed that there was a serious technical problem.]

2:20
Tereshkova: That happened when the spaceship was led out [into orbit?], and I noticed that I was not going to be able to return to Earth, that the spaceship was oriented not toward pushing the spaceship out of orbit, but the other way around, toward raising the orbit. I reported to Earth, I received the coordinates that had to be set, and I did everything.

[Tereshkova spent almost three days orbiting the Earth and returned as a hero. Her former coworkers at the factory celebrated her. She became a major public figure and worked in politics.]

Inscription on the wall of the factory where Tereshkova worked: Great job, Valia!!!

3:35
Dmitri Mironov, acting governor of Yaroslavl Oblast: When the State Duma isn’t in session [lit. “when there aren’t any hearings”], when the deputies are working in the regions, she is located precisely here. She comes to see me, asks: “Dmitri Yurievich, what problems are there? What questions? What do I need to do to help [lit., “by means of what is it essential to help”]? I am ready to actively join in on the work.” And together she and I sketch out the issues that must be resolved in first priority.

[Today an exhibit on Tereshkova opened in the Duma, and everyone there gave her birthday greetings.]

4:05
Viacheslav Volodin, chair of the State Duma: You took a risk. And now, what we were able to see in the exhibit, we saw — the risk was so great, so that you could have not returned. [This sentence doesn’t have a fully logical grammatical structure.] You were there alone, but you returned. And we are happy about the fact that you are with us. Therefore [we wish] to you health, happiness, and remain with us longer, as long as possible, now, because everyone loves [or likes] you, we [love/like] you especially, because you are right next to [us]. Thank you very much.

Tereshkova: Thank you very much.

[Tereshkova is a family woman too.]

4:40
Elena, Tereshkova’s daughter: In [daily] life she is very comfortable, cozy and domestic. A Mother with the largest capital letter, and a grandmother. It’s true, she doesn’t like that word, “grandmother,” but she has two grandsons whom she loves a lot, and my children are totally taken with her.

Anchor: In the history of space science Valentina Tereshkova will forever remain not just the first, but also the only woman who carried out a solitary flight into space. After all, after her all the other representatives of the weaker sex, for whom she opened up the stars, flew as part of a crew.

 

Video Two

0:35
Putin: Allow [me to] sincerely and heartily congratulate you on your jubilee [i.e. a special round-number birthday].

Tereshkova: Thank you very much. I am touched. Thank you very much.

Putin: Much thanks to you for your service to the fatherland. Starting with your legendary flight into space, you always were an example for us and a symbol of service to the fatherland, and — what is more — in various place, in various jobs. And now you continue to actively labor in the State Duma.

[Tereshkova’s code name during her training and flight was “Чайка” (“seagull”). Thus Putin gave Tereshkova a seagull sculpture and a painting of a seagull as birthday gifts. Then they sit at the table to discuss her political work in Yaroslavl Oblast, where she grew up. The new acting governor there is Dmitri Mironov.]

1:30
Tereshkova: Huge thanks to you on account of Yaroslavl, for the fact that you sent us a person who now is already holding meetings, and visiting cities, and he meets not just with workers at enterprises, but also with residents. In other words, it’s a good start. And we are trying to help in all kinds of ways.

Putin: He will need your support. I know that he truly is really “putting himself into it,” as it’s called, is making an effort. There is still a lot that will need to be done so that… so that people trust in him and support him.

Tereshkova: We will do our best [lit., will make an effort].

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