On the 11th of April, at the Russian Cultural and Information Center in Sofia, the first Bulgarian cosmonaut Georgi Ivanov was congratulated for the 40th anniversary of his space flight by hundreds of guests.

Among them was H. E. Mr. Anatoly Makarov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Bulgaria. Honorable guests at the festive evening were the cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov (Russia), Vladimir Remek (Czech Republic), Miroslav Germashevsky (Poland), Bertalan Farkas (Hungary) and Ivan Bella (Slovakia); all of them took part in the "Intercosmos" space program. Here were as well the second Bulgarian astronaut Alexander Alexandrov, the head of the Aerospace Center at the Sanatorium and Health Complex Kamchia – Krasimir Stoyanov, the director of the Institute of Space Studies at the BAS - Rumen Nedkov.

The official part of the evening was led by the head of the Rossotrudnichestvo Representation in Bulgaria - Irina Zhivihina.

40 years ago, on the 10th of April 1979, the spacecraft "Union 33" took off. On board were the Bulgarian cosmonaut Georgi Ivanov and the commander of the flight – Nikolay Rukavishnikov. The flight comes into the history of cosmonautics as one of the most complex and non-standard ones. Due to a malfunction of the engines, Ivanov and Rukavishnikov spent instead of the planned eight days in space, less than two days and miraculously managed to make an extremely complicated emergency landing.

At the celebration, the astronauts congratuleted Georgi Ivanov on the 40th anniversary of his flight and shared their memories of the cosmos as well as their views on the prospects for the development of the space industry.

Then the evening continued with a festive concert - a gift for the astronauts. It included young talents - the vocalists from "Domisolka" and "Zvyozdochka" and dancers from the school ensemble of the embassy of Russia in Bulgaria, as well as the well-known singers - Greta Gancheva, Raisa Poliakova and others.

On the next day - the 12th of April, the World Day of Aviation and Astronautics, which is connected to the first flight of a human in space, there was also a celebration in front of the monument to the first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, in Bankya. Many guests were present, including the heads of the diplomatic missions of Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia, cosmonauts participating in the "Intercosmos" program, representatives of various institutions, journalists. H. E. Mr. Anatoly Makarov delivered a speech in which he stressed that space must remain an area of international peace and cooperation. Greeting words were also given by the astronauts Georgi Ivanov and Pavel Vinogradov. Students from the "Hristo Smirnenski" School in Bankya and from the school of the Embassy of Russia presented a short musical-poetic program.

The event ended with the laying of wreaths and flowers at the monument of Yuri Gagarin.

Photos: The press service of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Bulgaria