Maniacal Laugh, Maniacal Laugh, Maniacal Laugh
Church of the savior st petersburg Russia
Architecturally, this cathedral differs from St. Petersburg’s other structures. The city’s architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but this church is medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism.
The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics—according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. This record may be surpassed by the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, which houses 7700 square meters of mosaics.
The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day— but the church’s chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family).
The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.
Note..Formally known as Leningrad, they changed the name for good reason.
Cosmonaut Crashed Into Earth ‘Crying In Rage’
This Day in Space: 1967. Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov born. He would be the first person to die during a spaceflight.
So there’s a cosmonaut up in space, circling the globe, convinced he will never make it back to Earth; he’s on the phone with Alexei Kosygin — then a high official of the Soviet Union — who is crying because he, too, thinks the cosmonaut will die.
The space vehicle is shoddily constructed, running dangerously low on fuel; its parachutes — though no one knows this — won’t work and the cosmonaut, Vladimir Komarov, is about to, literally, crash full speed into Earth, his body turning molten on impact. As he heads to his doom, U.S. listening posts in Turkey hear him crying in rage, “cursing the people who had put him inside a botched spaceship.”
This extraordinarily intimate account of the 1967 death of a Russian cosmonaut appears in a new book, Starman, by Jamie Doran and Piers Bizony, to be published next month. The authors base their narrative principally on revelations from a KGB officer, Venyamin Ivanovich Russayev, and previous reporting by Yaroslav Golovanov in Pravda. This version — if it’s true — is beyond shocking.
Starman tells the story of a friendship between two cosmonauts, Vladimir Kamarov and Soviet hero Yuri Gagarin, the first human to reach outer space. The two men were close; they socialized, hunted and drank together.
In 1967, both men were assigned to the same Earth-orbiting mission, and both knew the space capsule was not safe to fly. Komarov told friends he knew he would probably die. But he wouldn’t back out because he didn’t want Gagarin to die. Gagarin would have been his replacement.
The story begins around 1967, when Leonid Brezhnev, leader of the Soviet Union, decided to stage a spectacular midspace rendezvous between two Soviet spaceships.
The plan was to launch a capsule, the Soyuz 1, with Komarov inside. The next day, a second vehicle would take off, with two additional cosmonauts; the two vehicles would meet, dock, Komarov would crawl from one vehicle to the other, exchanging places with a colleague, and come home in the second ship. It would be, Brezhnev hoped, a Soviet triumph on the 50th anniversary of the Communist revolution. Brezhnev made it very clear he wanted this to happen.
The problem was Gagarin. Already a Soviet hero, the first man ever in space, he and some senior technicians had inspected the Soyuz 1 and had found 203 structural problems — serious problems that would make this machine dangerous to navigate in space. The mission, Gagarin suggested, should be postponed.
“ He’ll die instead of me. We’ve got to take care of him.”
- Komarov talking about Gagarin
The question was: Who would tell Brezhnev? Gagarin wrote a 10-page memo and gave it to his best friend in the KGB, Venyamin Russayev, but nobody dared send it up the chain of command. Everyone who saw that memo, including Russayev, was demoted, fired or sent to diplomatic Siberia. With less than a month to go before the launch, Komarov realized postponement was not an option. He met with Russayev, the now-demoted KGB agent, and said, “I’m not going to make it back from this flight.”
Russayev asked, Why not refuse? According to the authors, Komarov answered: “If I don’t make this flight, they’ll send the backup pilot instead.” That was Yuri Gagarin. Vladimir Komarov couldn’t do that to his friend. “That’s Yura,” the book quotes him saying, “and he’ll die instead of me. We’ve got to take care of him.” Komarov then burst into tears.
I had a chance to work with the Russian FAA for about a month one time in 1990. It was truly an enlightening experience. It still boggles my mind how politicized things can be - on both sides. We learned there was true common ground but very different approaches to the same goals. I also learned that their politics had them just as scared of us as we were of them. It was really an education for me.
Growing up in England during the Cold War we knew we would be first to go so any news from the front made big headlines. I remember well the Soviets invading Prague on my 15th birthday, woke up to the news of tanks everywhere, another blitzkrieg.