MOSCOW, USSR—Less than a week after the return of the Atlantis orbiter marked the end of the U.S. space shuttle program, the crowded streets and textile factories of Moscow erupted in celebration as the USSR officially declared victory over the United States in the Space Race.
"At long last, our great Soviet republic has conquered the West and achieved technological and ideological superiority over America," Kremlin representative Sergei Voronin said Wednesday, announcing the achievement to an audience of joyous beet farmers and steel factory laborers assembled in Red Square. "We have established our unrivaled dominion over the stars and planets and stand now at the dawn of a new era, an era in which the tenets of communism shall echo loudly across the Earth's entire expanse."
"Comrades, your hard work and sacrifice have finally paid off!" continued Voronin, his proud voice rising in excitement. "Let us honor this glorious day in Soviet history!"
The termination of NASA's space shuttle program marks the end of a nearly 54-year rivalry between the USSR and the United States to achieve superiority in space exploration. The communist state's solidification of its place as the world's predominant superpower has been observed with lavish military parades and celebrations in cities from Leningrad to East Berlin.
"While the Americans have allowed themselves to be distracted by wars and the search for oil, the USSR has always known that he who controls space leads the world," Premier Mikhail Gorbachev said in a statement. "Our scientists and cosmonauts have brought honor and glory to the Soviet people with their courage and unwavering commitment to communist ideals."
Sources confirmed that in commemoration of the capitalist defeat, extra bread and corn rations had been approved in all major cities, and factory workers were given time off their nine-hour work shifts to join in the festivities. Throughout the Eastern Bloc, pitchforks, hammers, Soviet flags, and large banners adorned with the face of Lenin were seen waving in the air as the excitement of the victory quickly spread.
"When we saw footage of the Atlantis touching down for the very last time, everyone in the tractor factory exploded with unbridled joy at the triumph of our republic," said Kiev assembly-line operator Yaroslav Biryukov, who marched in unison with a batch of laborers while loud refrains of the Soviet national anthem rang out through the streets. "We must now, all of us, work harder, harder than ever to seize this great moment in history."
Shock waves from the USSR's victory in the Space Race have been felt across the communist world, with grand celebrations reported in China, Cuba, North Korea, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan.
The White House conceded its defeat earlier today, acknowledging the United States was unfit to compete with the USSR given today's harsh economic landscape.
"There is simply no way for us to match our Soviet rival, either in outer space or here on Earth," President Obama said in a televised press conference that drew wild cheers when broadcast to the USSR and its satellite states. "They simply have more advanced technology, better scientists, and a more stable society overall. We honestly never stood a chance."
"It's sad to say, but we'll be seeing Soviet cosmonauts on the moon for years before we see another American astronaut there," Obama continued. "I suppose this just goes to show that capitalism was never the right system after all."
With U.S. intelligence now reporting the Kremlin is at least a year and a half ahead of schedule on its current five-year economic plan, political analysts predict a dramatic shift in power will lead to the rapid Sovietization of the Western Hemisphere, a theory supported by the mass exodus of North American citizens to the USSR over the past year.
"It's only a matter of time before the Soviet Union has successfully spread its communist ideals throughout the entire world, and the United States must accept this grim fact," University of Virginia political scientist Michael Gates said. "We can deny the truth as much as we like, but we might as well face it: Our great experiment has failed."