The cult of science and space exploration in the Soviet Union was as close as to religion as you could get in an atheist state. Unfortunately it ended up being one of the few positive trends that disappeared with the collapse of communism.
April 12 is International Space Day and this year that date coincided with the Russian Orthodox Easter Sunday. Religious celebrations on TV and on the streets overshadowed the ones dedicated to the day of the first manned space flight. The internet reacted fast with the Easternautics Day (Den Paskhonavtiki) meme, in which Gagarin’s face was painted on a kulich, a round sweet Easter bread, and surrounded by eggs painted with pictures of the International Space Station, Vostok-1 and other spaceships. Many people expressed disapproval that the day of a great scientific breakthrough was being superseded by a religious holiday.
Мне понравилось сравнение памятника Гагарину в Москве и статуи Христа-искупителя в Рио-де-Жанейро. Еще вспоминается вал книг и воспоминаний, которым в СССР отмечали 25-летие полета Гагарина — никакие Евангелия рядом не стояли.