The following quotation is from an interview with former cosmonaut Vladimir Kovalyonok, now a "Colonel General" (3-star) in charge of the Zhukovskiy Military Air Engineering Academy. It was published in the Russian army newspaper "Red Star" (Krasnaya Zvezda) on Nov 21, 1995:
"Today Russia is also finding it extremely difficult to hold onto its space achievements. Everyone in the world was familiar with two words: Volga and Gagarin. They were our calling card. And we must hang onto space by all means in our power -- these are state priorities. The days and nights we spent in orbit in the past were achieved at the cost of people's health and people's lives. Each and every one of us was aware that the flight was the crowning glory of the vast labor by hundreds of thousands of ordinary people in our country. We learned to work in space. No matter what efforts were made by the Americans, we still managed to prove that our programs were better. Look at the orbital stations. We started to really recoup our expenditures through studies of natural resources, through oceanology -- or look at my work on taking the fisheries fleet out into the open waters of the world ocean. This is reality, after all.