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Meeting with Valentina Tereshkova

June 16, 2023, St Petersburg

Vladimir Putin met with the world’s first female cosmonaut, Hero of the Soviet Union, State Duma deputy Valentina Tereshkova in St Petersburg’s Constantine Palace.

The President congratulated space pilot Valentina Tereshkova on the 60th anniversary of her solo flight around the Earth aboard the Vostok 6 spacecraft which began on June 16, 1963 and lasted almost three days.

The President presented the Order of Gagarin to Valentina Tereshkova for her outstanding achievements in outer space exploration, courage and dedication during that historic piloted space flight, and her active civic and international efforts.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ms Tereshkova,

Allow me to address you using your space call sign – our dear Chaika (Seagull).

First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the anniversary of your flight: on June 16, 1963 the first female pilot-cosmonaut flew to space, and back then the Soviet Union reaffirmed its leadership in outer space exploration.

I want to stress that following your flight, there were no women in space for 19 years – neither the Soviet Union nor the United States launched women into outer space.

In addition, you performed monumental work – scientific, research work. Moreover, the mere fact of a female cosmonaut was a very graphic illustration of the attitude towards women in our country, how they are trusted in our country and how our women reach incredible, stratospheric – both literally and figuratively – achievements and results.

You have also made a tremendous contribution to the progress of our statehood, focusing on such crucial developments in the country as support for maternity and childhood. You headed a very important body, the Soviet Women’s Committee, for many, many years. Now you are continuing this work as a State Duma deputy. We all admire what you did for Russia’s interests and how you did it.

The Order of Gagarin was instituted quite recently. I know that Yuri Gagarin played an important role in your life; as flight director, he took part in taking the final decision on who would be the first female cosmonaut.

You had good, friendly working and professional relations with him. Once we have this order instituted – it will be presented to particular individuals with outstanding results in outer space exploration, and research teams and industrial collectives – but this Order first and foremost must certainly and rightly be awarded to you. I would like to do that on the anniversary of your flight, and I am delighted to have the opportunity.

Let me once again heartily congratulate you on this occasion.

Valentina Tereshkova: Mr President,

I think everyone present must understand me and my emotions. I have never been so overwhelmed in my life because Yuri Gagarin’s name resides in our memory. We remember him as we live because he really did a lot to establish the Cosmonaut Training Centre and for people to fly under his name.

Thank you very much! I am endlessly grateful. I will try to be worthy of it.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.

If you do not mind, let us talk a little more.


June 16, 2023, St Petersburg