President and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka took part in celebrations dedicated to the
50th Anniversary of Yuri A.Gagarin flight to outer space
On April 26, 2011 H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, H.E. Vladimir
P. Mikhaylov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Sri Lanka, Mr. V.A.Lyakhov, Russian Cosmonaut, a number of
ministers and members of Parliament were present at the ceremony of the postage-stamp cancellation specially in
commemoration of the double 50th anniversary of Yuri A. Gagarin flight to outer space and his visit to Ceylon. In this
connection President of Sri Lanka reminded the warmth with which Y.A.Gagarin had been welcomed on the island in 1961
and described the double jubilee in Sri Lanka as a one more evidence of the close Sri Lanka – Russia friendship.
On his part the Russian Ambassador emphasized the universal importance of Y.A.Gagarin flight for the scientific and
technical progress and stated that the issue of the special commemorative stamp and participation of H.E. President of
Sri Lanka in the ceremony proved the high level of the bilateral relations and their truly friendly character.
The day before Hon. Prime Minister of Sri Lanka D.M.Jayarathne, H.E. Ambassador Mr. Vladimir P. Mikhaylov, the
Russian Cosmonaut V.A.Lyakhov and the director of the Russian Cultural Centre in Colombo A.A.Akhmetov visited Kandy
where they installed new boards near the trees planted in 1961 by Y.A.Gagarin and in 1891 by crown prince Nikolay
(future tsar Nikolay II) in Peradenia botanic garden.
In the evening of the 26th of April in one of the most prestigious hotels of Colombo – the Galle Face
Hotel - where Y.A.Gagarin and his spouse stayed in 1961 Hon. Prime Minister of Sri Lanka D.M.Jayarathne and H.E.
Ambassador of the Russian Federation Mr. Vladimir P. Mikhaylov unveiled the bust of the first cosmonaut made by world
famous sculptor Z.Cereteli. That event, initiated by the Embassy of the Russian Federation, became the culmination of
the celebrations organized in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1st space mission to
Speaking at the sculpture unveiling ceremony Hon. Prime-Minister of Sri Lanka stated that like the visit of
Y.A.Gagarin to Ceylon in 1961 the present celebrations gave evidence to the traditionally firm friendship of the two
countries being especially strengthened recently. Hon. Prime Minister expressed his gratitude for the support given by
Russia to the Sri Lanka in her fighting against terrorism as well as for the support in the world arena nowadays.
H.E. Ambassador of the Russian Federation emphasized that launching of the 1st satellite and especially
the flight of the first human to outer space merely 15 years after the end of the World War II during which the USSR
had lost about 30 mln. people and as the result of the war a considerable part of the country had been destroyed, gave
evidence of Russian ability to overcome difficulties and achieve goals. H.E. Ambassador also noticed that the Russian
Embassy could not hold such large-scale celebrations without whole-hearted support of the Sri Lanka government and
various sincere friends of Russia.
A large number of ministers, members of Parliament, public figures, representatives of the Armed Forces, science and
culture of Sri Lanka were present at the ceremony.