The monument dedicated to the first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was opened on the 10th of April in the town of Vitania (north-east part of Slovenia) on the eve of the celebration of the Cosmonautics Day. The event was attended by Doku Zavgaev, the Russian Ambassador in Slovenia, Mitya Bervar, the Chairman of the State Council of Slovenia, Mirko Polutnik, the Mayor of Vitania, Svetlana Orlova, the Governor of the Vladimir Region and Valery Tokarev, the Hero of Russia , the Test Cosmonaut and also the Mayor of Star City. Among the honored guests invited to the event were Danilo Durakovic, the President of the Group of Companies “Comita”and the honorary Consul of the Russian Federation in Slovenia.
During the opening of the monument the addressing speech of the first woman-cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova was read out: “Dear Slovenian friends, I congratulate you on a momentous day in the history of Russian-Slovenian relations! For the first time in the history of the Slovenian state will be opened a monument to the legendary man, the first cosmonaut of the planet Earth, the property of all mankind, Yuri Gagarin. From now on, he will exist also in Slovenia.”
“His name and feat will be an example for the next generation who will create the future of high technology and explore the universe. Also this generation will promote cooperation between our two countries”, Tokarev noted.
The idea of installing a bust of Yuri Gagarin appeared in March 2017 during the visit of D. Zavgaev to the town Vitanje, which is connected with the biography of someone who was the first developers of equipment for space exploration — the Austro-Hungarian military engineer of Slovenian origin Herman Potocnik-Noordung (1892-1929.). Since 2011, here operates a Cultural centre of European space technologies (KSEVT), which deals with issues of culture and space, interacting actively with Russian partners, including them from the Cosmonaut training center in Star city. During the meeting between D. Zavgaev with the mayor of the municipality of Vitanje M. Poludnica and the founder of KSEVT, known Slovenian artist, Dragan Zivadinov, it was reached an agreement about the installation of the bronze bust of Yuri Gagarin in the main lobby of KSEVT.
The authorities of Vitanie are planning in the future, in cooperation with the Russian embassy and KSEVT, to create in the city one Alley the founding fathers of cosmonautics. KE Tsiolkovsky’s House-Museum in Kaluga, partners from the Vladimir region and a number of other regions of Russia have already joined the realization of this idea.