Art And Culture

Russian Spaceman Joins “Eighth Seen” Charity

Russian Spaceman Joins “Eighth Seen” CharityRussian Spaceman Joins “Eighth Seen” Charity

The former Soviet cosmonaut Aleksandr Pavlovich Aleksandrov has joined the ‘Eighth Seen: Sarpanah’ charity movement.

The movement started last year as a philanthropic gesture by renowned Iranian artists to support homeless people by putting up their awards for auctions, organized by the Tehran-based charity Toloo Bi-Neshanha Society (Dawn of the Unknown), to raise funds and help in the construction of shelters for the homeless.

Invited by veteran Iranian journalist Cyrus Borzu, Aleksandrov joined the campaign last week by donating some of his space memorabilia comprising a model of the Vostok spacecraft, five signed photos and five signed envelops bearing stamps issued in commemoration of his journey into space, ISNA reported.

The name of the charitable campaign refers to the ‘Haft Seen’ table set by Iranians during Nowruz or New Year. The ‘Haft Seen Sofreh’ includes seven items all starting with the Persian letter ‘seen’ (pronounced in the same way as S in English). Each item has a symbolic meaning, and ‘sarpanah’ means shelter.

Aleksandrov (born in 1943, Moscow) was selected twice as the Hero of the Soviet Union (1983 and 1987). He holds a doctorate degree, in specialized spacecraft steering systems.

As a cosmonaut he spent 309 days in space. He resigned from the team in 1993. Since then he has held different positions at space and flight organizations in Russia. He has authored two books on space issues as well.


Joining the movement, Borzu, who currently lives in Russia, had invited the scientific society of the country to support the humanitarian action.

Borzu, himself an astronomy scholar, was born in 1953. He started his journalistic activities in 1980 by writing articles on astronomy for popular Iranian journals of the time like ‘Science and Life,’ ‘The Scientist’, and ‘Scientific Information’. He was the editor-in-chief of Kayhan Elmi (Science), the first monthly scientific magazine for young adults in Iran.

In 1990, Borzu published the magazine ‘Space Infinite Boundaries’ in which he was the license holder and editor-in-chief. To continue his studies in the field of space and also cultural activities, he migrated to Russia in 1994. There he taught Persian language at different Russian universities and founded the Ferdowsi Cultural Center in Moscow.

He also published a bilingual magazine ‘Payvand’ (in Persian and Russian) and wrote two books for Russian students on learning Persian language. However, most of his activities are centered on space issues as he works with Russian astronomers and space scientists.

  Space Travels

Borzu accompanied Aleksandrov on a visit to Iran in 2014, where the Russian scholar held meetings and delivered speeches on his experiences in space travels and about spacecraft guidance systems in which he specializes.

Screenwriter and director Hossein Pakdel, who earlier joined the charity movement, thanked the Russian scholar in a letter to him saying, “Your initiative showed that one of the blessings of this philanthropic gesture is to bring closer hearts and views. Helping our fellow people, regardless of differences, is a significant characteristic of the culture of Iranians. Your contribution stimulates other members of the scientific society to support this campaign.”

Iranian artists who have so far joined the campaign include celebrated filmmakers Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, Kamal Tabrizi, and Bahman Farmanara, prominent actress/director Niki Karimi, notable actors Jamshid Mashayekhi, Reza Kianian, Parviz Parastui, Fatemeh Motamed-Arya, Bahram Radan, Habib Rezaei, Mahnaz Afshar, Hamid Jebeli, and veteran poet, author and university lecturer Mohammad Shams-Langeroodi.

Recently, Vice-President and Head of the Center for Women and Family Affairs, Shahindokht Molaverdi also joined the movement.