A Soviet monument in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, got a fresh coat of paint over the weekend. According to the Wall Street Journal, in a demonstration of solidarity with the Ukraine, an anonymous group of Bulgarian street artists painted the statue’s central, pistol-wielding figure a in blue and yellow, the color of Ukraine’s flag. A banner behind the charging soldier and his comrades got a similar treatment. In a spray-painted caption, the artists write, “In step with the times.”
The effort comes after heavy condemnation by the Russians of the Ukrainian uprising, which saw president Viktor Yanukovych flee to his stronghold in the country’s east over the weekend. Last week, over 100 people were killed on both sides of the conflict as protests in Independence Square turned increasingly violent. Police now seek to hold Yanukovych responsible for the “mass murder” according to a Facebook post by interim interior minister, Arsen Avakov.
The statue was built to commemorate Bulgaria’s liberation by Russian forces in 1944. Lately, however, it has been more a site for the expression of popular discontent than Soviet celebration. In 2013, the statue’s soldiers and arms were painted pink to mark the 45th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Czechoslovakia. Two years before, it got a more light-hearted treatment, being painted with American pop-cultural figures like Superman, Ronald McDonald, and Captain America.
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