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Legendary TASS photographer Vladimir Musaelyan is no more

Musaelyan was the personal photographer of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev for 14 years
Vladimir Musaelyan Oleg Yelkov/TASS
Vladimir Musaelyan
© Oleg Yelkov/TASS

MOSCOW, September 28. /TASS/. Soviet and Russian photographer of world renown, Vladimir Musaelyan, passed away on Monday, his daughter Marina told TASS.

Musaelyan was 81. For sixty years he remained a member of the TASS team.

Vladimir Musaelyan joined the TASS photo news desk in 1960. He chronicled many epoch-making events, one of his favorite subjects being the advent and early days of the space era. Musaelyan was fortunate to catch on camera the first space crews in training, space rocket launches and the construction of the Baikonur space center.

His snapshots of the first man in space Yuri Gagarin, the first woman in space Valentina Tereshkova and the first spacewalker Alexei Leonov went down in history.

Later, for 14 years he was the personal photographer of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.

Besides Brezhnev he photographed several other top Soviet officials - Yuri Andropov, Konstantin Chernenko and Mikhail Gorbachev. Since 1994, he remained a TASS special photographer in the Russian parliament.

Musaelyan had many national and international decorations to his credit, such as four World Press Photo awards, including the Golden Eye, the Soviet Union's Order of the Red Banner of Labor (two) and many medals.

In July 2019, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to decorate Musaelyan with the Order of Honor for his tangible contribution to the national mass media and decades of fruitful creative endeavor.