Vladimir Putin Erects 300-Ton Statue of His Namesake Near Kremlin

UNESCO isn't happy about it.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Patriarch of Russia Kirill lay flowers to the monument to Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin at the Red square near the Kremlin marking a National Unity Day in Moscow on November 4, 2016. Photo Alexei Druzhinin/AFP/Getty Images.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Patriarch of Russia Kirill lay flowers to the monument to Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin at the Red square near the Kremlin marking a National Unity Day in Moscow on November 4, 2016. Photo Alexei Druzhinin/AFP/Getty Images.

A new statue of St. Vladimir rises above Moscow.

Critics of the 56-foot, 300-ton monument to the patron saint of the Russian Orthodox Church are interpreting the statue, which was put in place near the Kremlin on Friday, as propaganda for the saint’s namesake, Russian president Vladimir Putin.

“Prince Vladimir has gone down forever in history as the unifier and defender of Russian lands, as a visionary politician,” Putin told officials, according to AFP. Vladimir founded the state of Rus, the precursor to modern Russia, and adopted Orthodox Christianity as its official religion. He is also said to have had hundreds of concubines, and his rise to power involved the murder of his half-brother Yaropolk.

President of Russian Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky attend an opening ceremony of monument to Vladimir the Great in Moscow on November 4, 2016 during celebrations for National Unity Day. Photo Mikhail Klimentiev/AFP/Getty Images.

President of Russian Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky attend an opening ceremony of monument to Vladimir the Great in Moscow on November 4, 2016 during celebrations for National Unity Day. Photo Mikhail Klimentiev/AFP/Getty Images.

The Moscow sculpture of St. Vladimir, holding aloft a cross and clutching a sword, is the work of Russian artist Salavat Scherbakov. It was the subject of considerable debate and protest, as reported in the Guardian, but the dissent managed only to chop off 26 feet from the height of the sculpture, originally proposed to loom to some 82 feet.

That modification was the result of the disapproval of UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization), that the larger version would have dominated the Kremlin itself, which is a World Heritage Site.

Brutal figures from Russian history are having a resurgence in sculptural form across the country, reports the New York Times, including Ivan the Terrible and Josef Stalin, both the subject of new statuary in Russia.


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