The bust of Russian cosmonaut Yury Gagarin, the first man in space, has been unveiled at Long Island's Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, NY, Newsday reported on Sunday.
Cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin - a 28-year veteran of the Soviet and Russian space programs - said the bust was more than just a likeness of the first man in space. It was a symbol.
"All of us can recall the time when we had to stay separate from our colleagues [in the United States]," he said. "We had to hide our secrets.”
"Gagarin belongs not only to Russia but to all countries and nations, and it’s important to us that his bust will be part of the collection of the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Long Island, New York,” said Andrei Yushmanov, of the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in New York.
“Russia and the US have much in common, not only as allies during the Second World War, but as nations which have always been eager to travel to the unknown, and to discover new space; Gagarin symbolizes this aspiration.”
“And I believe that it is very important for us… to further promote our countries’ cooperation not only in the space exploration program, but in all spheres," he added.
The bronze bust is a gift from Ruslan Bairamov, a Russian businessman and philanthropist.