Four days after Yuri Gagarin returned from his flight, the Soviet government held a press conference during which he addressed his country and the world. The speech, and his introduction by Soviet scientist A.N. Nesmeyanov were faithfully recorded by a NASA translator. We present an excerpt of the intro and all of Gagarin's speech below.
A.N. Nesmeyanov: "Everything is symbolic in this achievement. The fact that the first cosmonaut is a Soviet citizen, the fact that the first cosmic spaceship carrying Major Gagarin was named 'Vostok,' which means East or Dawn, and also the fact that the flight was completed in the morning, these are all symbolic. So this morning became the morning of a new era. From now on the day of April 12, 1961, will be connected with the achievement which was accomplished by Yuri Alekseyevitch Gagarin. The entire flight around the Earth was completed in 108 minutes, and these minutes shook the world."
Many people are interested in my biography. I have read in the newspapers that some irresponsible persons in the United States of America, who are distant relatives of the Gagarin nobility, consider that I am one of their offsprings. I will have to disillusion them. They have acted very stupidly. I am a simple Soviet man. I was born March 9, 1934, to the family of a peasant. The place of my birth was in the Smolensk region. There were no princes or nobility in my family tree. Before the revolution my parents were poor peasants. The older generation of my family, my grandfather and grandmother, were also poor peasants, and there were no princes or counts in our family. Therefore, I will be forced to disillusion my self-appointed relatives in America.