Russia Accuses U.S. State Department of Snubbing Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in Facebook Post

The Russian Foreign Ministry chastised the U.S. State Department after failing to mention Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in a Facebook post Sunday marking April 12 as the International Day of Human Space Flight.

Russia's Foreign Ministry took a jab at their American "colleagues" and accused them of "disinformation" because of the apparent snub in a social media post that left out the name or nationality of Gagarin, who became the first human to journey into outer space on April 12, 1961. His 108-minute solo orbit of the Earth was a massive achievement in the building space race between the Soviet Union and the United States and turned Gagarin into an international celebrity.

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The Russian government page appeared to correct Gagarin's historical slight on the State Department Facebook page in what is only the Foreign Ministry's latest complaint that Western powers have attempted to rewrite portions of history.

"We remind our colleagues from the US State Department that the first person in space was a Soviet astronaut, his name is Yuri Alekseevich Gagarin. Not to mention this is disinformation and a base trick of the post-truth epoch," the Russian Foreign Ministry posted on its own Twitter and Facebook pages Sunday.

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The post shows a photo of a smiling Gagarin, who died in 1968 at age 34 during a training run on a standard Soviet aircraft. A screenshot of the U.S. State Department's commemoration of the International Day of Human Space Flight is shown from their Russian language Facebook page, but simply reads: "59 years ago, the first flight of man to space was carried out."

The State Department declined to comment to Newsweek about the alleged discrepancy in a Sunday phone call.

"Soviet cosmonauts Yuri Gagarin and Valentina Tereshkova, the first man and the first woman in the outer space, visited the United Nations in 1963," the U.N. Geneva's Twitter account shared earlier Sunday, prompting shares from the Russian Foreign Ministry account.

"Send them a copy of the newspaper of the Komsomolskaya Truth for April 12, 1961, there on the page all the words that still scare them," one commenter, Alexander Baykov, remarked in a top reply.showing a cropped image of the still-operating newspaper tabloid.

This is not the first time one of the Russian government's social media pages have gone on the offensive against their American counterparts' posts.

In January, the Russian Embassy in Washington accused several U.S. Embassy accounts and the State Department of trying to take credit for the liberation of Auschwitz, the World War II Nazi death camp in Poland. "Auschwitz was liberated by Americans, according to @USAmbDenmark, What does it mean @statedept @secpompeo? We asked you not to erase the memory of #Auschwitz liberators - #RedArmysoldiers. Now you 'substitute' Soviet soldiers with Americans? Shameful #WWII History Rewriting," the Russian envoy tweeted January 28.

And last June, as the Western powers met to mark the anniversary of D-Day, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova claimed their fellow World War II Allied Powers were purposefully downplaying the Soviet Union's role in defeating Nazi Germany. The Russians also said the June 1944 Normandy landings of American, British and Canadian troops have been exaggerated versus the Eastern Front war, which culminated with the Soviet capture of Berlin in 1945.

"As historians note, the Normandy landing did not have a decisive impact on the outcome of World War II and the Great Patriotic War," Zakharova told Reuters last year, using the Russian language name for the same conflict. "It had already been pre-determined as a result of the Red Army's victories. [The Western Allies' contribution] should of course not be exaggerated. And especially not at the same time as diminishing the Soviet Union's titanic efforts, without which this victory simply would not have happened."

russia yuri gagarin facebook space
Russia's Foreign Ministry took a jab at their American "colleagues" and accused them of spreading "disinformation" in a social media post which left out the name or nationality of Gagarin, who became the first human to journey into outer space on April 12, 1961. Screenshot: Russia Foreign Ministry | Twitter
Russia Accuses U.S. State Department of Snubbing Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in Facebook Post | World