Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Count Suvorov in Space

A clever tongue will, as it is well-known, take you anywhere. Though it could be even farther than you wish!

The thing is that in 1992 the international space flight was being organized. The space crew included representatives from Russia and Austria. In order to nail friendship down and for future fruitful cooperation the Russian party was getting ready to present the Austrians with a special gift. The party was surely getting ready, though it was absolutely unable to figure out what gift to present.

Obviously that gift had to symbolize a long and sincere friendship of two countries. Many were scratching their bald napes scratched well enough over years asking themselves what could be in common between us and Austria?

Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Count Suvorov in Space
Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Count Suvorov in Space

As usually what helped was history. So much for a useless science! Someone quite unexpectedly recollected about the military partnership at the time of cooperative struggle of two empires against the Turks. Those very “years”, if someone fails to remember, ran like a golden thread through almost the whole eighteenth century.

Box autographed astronaut
Box autographed astronaut

Continued searches in that direction naturally led to a great Russian commander Aleksandr Vasilyevich Suvorov (he played an important part in that cooperation anyhow – Focşani, Râmnic* , etc.). And via his personality to the Suvorov Memorial Museum in Saint-Petersburg. Thus, in that chain of events no matter how complicated it might seem at first glance, the master appeared. Space, the Austrians, Suvorov and he himself – Vladimir Nikolayevich Nuzhdin.

Scetches
Scetches

The Museum did its best having opened its gorgeous funds for the search of necessary information. That way the engraving created by the master in partnership with A.V. Metelev, symbolizing warm feelings of the Austrians to the Russians and the other way round, saw the light. A 42-millimetre composition consisting of two commanders on marvelous full-fed baroque horses. An excellent work especially taking into account that it is the only engraving that travelled to space.**

*Names of glorious victories of Russian and Austrian armies over the Turks under command of A.V. Suvorov and Prince of Saxe-Coburg.

**The engraving was taken aboard of the spaceship Soyuz TM-13 by the Soviet-Austrian space crew that conducted a flight to the orbital station Mir. After being delivered back to Earth it was presented to the Suvorov Memorial Museum by a representative of the Star City Verebeneva Ye. I.