Space is losing popularity among Russians

Most Russians do not want to fly into space, and do not know contemporary cosmonauts, according to the results of a public opinion poll conducted by the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VCIOM).

On Sunday April 12, Russia celebrated Cosmonautics Day, marking the anniversary of man’s first flight into space. VCIOM conducted a survey to find out Russians’ opinion about space flights and the profession called 'cosmonaut'.

On April 12, 1961, the world’s first cosmonaut, Yury Gagarin, was sent into the Earth’s orbit on the 'Vostok' space ship, beginning the era of manned flights to outer space. Back then, it seemed every boy wanted to become a pilot, and after the successful flight by Yury Gagarin, boys started dreaming about space. The names of the first cosmonauts were well known to people.

The all-Russian poll was conducted between April 4 and 5.

1,600 people in 42 regions of Russia were questioned.

The statistical error margin does not exceed 3,4 percent.

The latest VCIOM poll results, however, are not so optimistic. Over 60 per cent of Russian citizens say they don’t want to make a space flight, with only 19 per cent saying they would like to. Another 15 per cent of those questioned say they had earlier wanted to fly into space, but now have changed their mind.

Russian people also proved rather wary about their children choosing the profession of cosmonaut: only 23 per cent wouldn’t mind if their child wanted to become a spaceman. In 64 per cent of cases, Russians are opposed to this.

The question about space tourism divided the polled Russians almost in half: 48 per cent of respondents assume that it is necessary to make space flights more available for people from different social levels, whereas 41 per cent of the polled believe that only professional cosmonauts should fly into space.

The most disappointing fact was that Russians do not know their heroes – Russian cosmonauts. Eighty one per cent of polled citizens failed to name a single contemporary cosmonaut. The rest named a few cosmonauts of the 1960s and 1970s.