Pushinka (Fluffy) was the name of one of the Strelka's (Arrow's) six pups that she had after being safely landed to Earth from orbit to which it was launched aboard Vostok-1K rocket No. 2 on 19 August 1960. Wikipedia describes this in a bit more detail in the Soviet space dogs article, section on Belka and Strelka.

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                                       Kennedy family dog Pushinka on the White House North Lawn.

It is to my understanding that Chairman Nikita Khrushchev and US President John F. Kennedy maintained a rather warm relationship despite the cold war era already being at full swing, and they communicated regularly. BBC News magazine covers this Pushinka: A Cold War puppy the Kennedys loved story in even more detail and also republishing Kennedy's letter to Khrushchev upon receiving the pup:

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                           Both above photographs courtesy of John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum.

It's a heartwarming story for sure, but what exactly were Khrushchev's intentions with it, besides, you know, rubbing it in that the Soviet communist space program was at that time more advanced than the free world capitalist one?

Was this information ever disclosed to the public, perhaps in some memoirs / biography or analyzed in more detail by some cold war historian like Martin Sandler that the BBC article mentions?

It was quite common in those times for such presents to have a hidden message to it, and I find the whole thing a bit curious to say the least. Was there a more obscure agenda behind this present to JFK's daughter Caroline? I guess it could be seen as a good will / public relations gesture of sorts, and that's I guess how it was received by the general public. But it could as well serve as a proof that the outer space isn't hostile to life on Earth? Or perhaps serve as any number of other messages that I can't think of.

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    $\begingroup$ Would be interesting to contact Sergei Khrushchev about it (e.g., through his literary agent/publisher). $\endgroup$ – Deer Hunter Sep 10 '14 at 18:38
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps it was meant to serve as a reminder of the lives that would be lost in a nuclear war. $\endgroup$ – Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Sep 10 '14 at 18:39
  • $\begingroup$ I always hoped it was so he could say to some of his more belligerent cronies back home "Well, he keeps a dog, so he can't be all bad.." $\endgroup$ – Andrew Thompson Sep 11 '14 at 5:42
  • $\begingroup$ Because space dog. (I take it the dog was X-rayed by the CIA, purely as a precaution...) $\endgroup$ – Brian Drummond Jul 31 '15 at 16:51

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