Art And Culture

Another Russian Cosmonaut Joins Iran Charity Initiative

Another Russian Cosmonaut Joins Iran Charity InitiativeAnother Russian Cosmonaut Joins Iran Charity Initiative

The well-known Russian cosmonaut Aleksandr Ivanovich Lazutkin has joined the ‘Eighth Seen: Sarpanah’ charity movement.

On the occasion of the 19th anniversary of his first space mission on February 10, Lazutkin came to Iran with his wife for a two-week visit in which he is set to speak in several cities on the subject of his space exploits, ISNA reported.

Invited by veteran Iranian journalist and astronomy scholar Cyrus Borzu, the Russian astronaut joined the campaign and met with two acclaimed Iranian artists, actor Reza Kianian and screenwriter and director Hossein Pakdel, who pioneered the charity.

It is almost a year since the initiative was launched by 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), the philanthropic gesture seeks to raise funds and help in the construction of shelters for the homeless.

The name of the charitable campaign refers to the ‘Haft Seen’ table set by Iranians during Nowruz (New Year). The ‘Haft Seen’ 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’, as the eight ‘seen’ added to the original tradition, means shelter.

At a meeting with Pakdel, Kianian and Borzu in Tehran, Lazutkin, who is visiting Iran for the first time, donated a Russian medal on behalf of the Russian space station astronauts to the charity.

“There are a lot of similarities in our (astronauts and actors) jobs. The young generation in the society knows and loves us and likes to behave like us. So whatever we do, it can also influence their behavior,” Lazutkin said.

 Helping the Needy

He expressed pleasure in joining the initiative and said, “You (artists) see the problems in the community and try to address them by actually helping people who are in need while there are people in the world who just pretend to help but in fact they serve their own vested interests”.

Born in Moscow, Lazutkin, 58, attended the Moscow Aviation Institute and has a mechanical engineering degree. He was selected as a cosmonaut in 1992.

He was aboard the Mir Space Station, launched in 1997, when a collision occurred with the unmanned Progress M34, its supply craft which was piloted by Vasily Tsibliyev while on the Mir. Quick action by the three crewmen including Lazutkin managed to stave off immediate disaster, saving the rest of the station. Lazutkin’s mission lasted for 185 days.

So far, film directors Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, Bahman Farmanara, Ali Rafiei and Niki Karimi, actors Parviz Parastui, Jamshid Mashayekhi, Hamid Jebeli, Bahram Radan, Habib Rezaei, Fatemeh Motamed-Arya, Mahnaz Afshar, Atefeh Razavi, poet, author and university lecturer Mohammad Shams Langeroodi and cartoonist Kambiz Derambakhsh among others have joined the campaign.

Moreover, encouraged by Borzu, the former Soviet cosmonauts Aleksandr Pavlovich Aleksandrov and Georgy Mikhaylovich Grechko as well as Kyrgyzstani cosmonaut Salizhan Shakirovich Sharipov have donated some of their space memorabilia to the charity.