Epic: Angry US Astronaut Tells Russians What to Do with Special Medal They Awarded Him in 2011


In 2011, then-President Dmitry Medvedev, left, of Russia bestowed a Russian medal

In 2011, then-President Dmitry Medvedev, left, of Russia bestowed a Russian medal “For Merit in Space Exploration” to American astronaut Scott Kelly, right. (@StationCDRKelly / Twitter screen shot)

 By Richard Moorhead  March 9, 2022 at 3:08pm

An American former astronaut who spent a year on the International Space Station is returning a Russian medal honoring his accomplishments in space.

Scott Kelly is citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the reason he’s returning his Russian medal “For Merit in Space Exploration.”

Господин Медведев, я возвращаю Вам российскую медаль “За заслуги в освоении космоса», которую вы мне вручили. Пожалуйста, отдайте его русской матери, чей сын погиб в этой несправедливой войне. Я отправлю медаль по почте в посольство России в Вашингтоне. Удачи. https://t.co/n8jMTX34pW pic.twitter.com/qpI1YNKps3

— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) March 9, 2022

Kelly made the announcement in a Wednesday tweet directed to former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. The astronaut has someone in mind to receive the medal.

A translation of his tweet reads as follows:

“Mr. Medvedev, I am returning to you the Russian medal ‘For Merit in Space Exploration,’ which you presented to me. Please give it to a Russian mother whose son died in this unjust war. I will mail the medal to the Russian embassy in Washington. Good luck.”

Kelly announced the medal’s return in response to a Medvedev tweet celebrating International Women’s Day.

Medvedev bestowed the medal on Kelly in 2011, according to CNN. Kelly is fluent in Russian and spent several years training in Moscow’s Star City space facility.

Should he return the medal?

Kelly has referenced his relationships with Russian cosmonauts and colleagues throughout his space career in appeals to the conscience of Russian leadership.

The former naval aviator even spoke of a direct conversation with Vladimir Putin he had on the International Space Station. Kelly says he spoke to Putin after his sister-in-law, then-congresswoman Gabby Giffords, was shot in a 2011 assassination attempt.

WARNING: The following video contains graphic images that some viewers may find disturbing.

Mr. Putin, in 2011 I spoke with you from the ISS after my brother’s wife was shot. You seemed kind and sincere and asked what you could do for me. You can stop this madness. I’m afraid for the Ukrainians and for my Russian friends. Everyone will lose. pic.twitter.com/pDSCFOj3zq

— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) March 1, 2022

Kelly indicated on Twitter that some of the Russian cosmonauts he’s worked with despise Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine as much as he does.

Standing in support with the people of Ukraine alongside my Russian friends including former cosmonauts who despise Putin’s criminal acts as much as I do. Attacking a weaker neighbor is not strong leadership; it is cowardice based on fear and insecurity. pic.twitter.com/PA2CdW3I8w

— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) February 25, 2022

Kelly had been attacked on Twitter by Dmitry Rogozin, the administrator of Russia’s Roscosmos space agency. Roscosmos is Russia’s equivalent of NASA.

Димон, ты почему удалил этот твит? Не хочешь, чтобы все увидели, какой ты в сущности ребёнок? pic.twitter.com/xSScT2cSGu

— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) March 7, 2022

Kelly spent nearly a full year on the International Space Station with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko.

Сегодня, в годовщину приземления нашей миссии #YearinSpace, мы с Мишей, как верные друзья, солидарны в нашей поддержке народов России и Украины. pic.twitter.com/342er77E0w

— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) March 1, 2022

Scott Kelly is the twin brother of Mark Kelly, a Democratic senator representing Arizona.

Richard Moorhead is a conservative journalist, a graduate of Arizona State University, service member, and guitar player.

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