Planned Statue of Vladimir the Great in Moscow Outrages Locals and Irks Ukrainians

A picture taken on June 2, 2015 shows an artist walking next to a model for a monument to Vladimir the Great at his workshop in Moscow. Photo credit should read VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images.

Thousands of Muscovites have signed a petition against the planned location of a 24-metre-tall monument to Vladimir the Great, the Guardian reports. But, why? After all, the first Christian ruler of the early slavic state Rus—which eventually became Russia—is a revered figure for the Russians.

The plans were announced amidst the increase of patriotic rhetoric in Russia, and the erection of the statue coincides with the 1,000th anniversary of Vladimir’s death.

Muscovites, however, aren’t happy. Many are concerned that the monument will become an eyesore when installed at its earmarked location on top of the city’s Sparrow Hills. Residents, moreover, are angered that the monument’s placement was decided without public consultation.

The statue's planned location on Moscow's Sparrow Hills. Photo: Picture of Russia

The statue’s planned location on Moscow’s Sparrow Hills.
Photo: via Picture of Russia

The controversy is compounded by the fact that Vladimir came to power and ruled in Kiev, leading to accusations that the monument is a provocation to Ukraine (see Ukrainian Activists Occupy Russia’s Biennale Pavilion).

Alexei Venediktov, editor-in-chief of the Moscow-based Ekho Moskvy radio station, told the Guardian: “It’s obvious that this isn’t an aesthetic or cultural decision, but a political one. It’s a message to the Ukrainian capital to say: ‘St Vladimir is ours, not yours.’” (See Patriotic Ukrainians Tear Down Lenin Statue).

Salavat Scherbakov, the Russian artist commissioned to create the statue, refuted the accusations. “It’s like George Washington for Americans,” he said. “All countries have their historical figures and you have to respect them.”

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