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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hailed Yury Gagarin's flight into space 50 years as a symbolic, revolutionary event, adding that his country still dreams about "conquering" other planets and flying to distant stars.
The first manned space flight remains a landmark for humankind, he said in an interview with China Central Television CCTV.
"I believe it was a truly revolutionary event, a highly symbolic one," Medvedev said. "It was a tremendous achievement of Soviet cosmonautics, which divided the world into 'before' and 'after the flight,' what has been termed the 'space era.'"
"I am proud of the fact that it was my country that made this first step," he said.
On the subject of future space programs, Medvedev said although they have become less idealistic and more pragmatic, the Russian space dream lives on.
"We still cherish a hope, however, that sometime we will be able to conquer other planets, other stellar systems."
"I don't know how soon we will be able to achieve that, but I think that mankind will always try to follow these two approaches simultaneously - on the one hand, the dream of exploring outer space, and, on the other hand, a truly pragmatic approach to outer space, which may bring both scientific and practical benefits."
MOSCOW, April 12 (RIA Novosti)
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.