Laika, the Soviet Space Dog

No visitor to Moscow can fail to notice that the Soviets were proud of their space race achievements. The city is abound with monuments, statues and murals of the Soviet space age. As with most things Soviet, these monuments are gargantuan in size. They demand attention and exude pomp. One space age statue, however, does not fit the usual mould, and that is the statue of Laika, the Soviet space dog.

Laika, the humble mongrel, would probably have been embarrassed about being the subject of a statue, so it is perhaps fitting that the one dedicated to her is small and modest, and tucked away in a courtyard at an obscure military research facility several miles outside the centre of Moscow. Red Square it isn’t, but it’s a sweet memorial to Laika’s sacrifice. Laika, the stray dog, once roamed the streets of Moscow before going onto become the very first animal to orbit the earth, and may she rest in peace.