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All hail Emperor Putin, ‘symbol of our Russian democracy’!

Photo: Ilya Koval / Deutsche Welle

Visitors to a town a few dozen kilometers outside St. Petersburg are witnesses to a curious new statue dedicated to Vladimir Putin, depicting Russia’s sitting president as a Roman emperor.

According to Deutsche Welle’s Ilya Koval, who attended the unveiling ceremony on May 17, the bust was supposed to be made of bronze, but was ultimately constructed of less valuable metals.

Photo: Ilya Koval / Deutsche Welle

Andrei Polyakov, the head of a local Cossack society, commissioned the bust and had it installed on his own private property, to avoid the nebula of city permits required to place it on public land. Unveiling the monument, Polyakov said the rendition of Putin as a Roman emperor was a “symbol of our Russian democracy.”

Stas Baretssky, a former member of the Russian music group Leningrad, attended the unveiling ceremony. Baretssky compared Russia’s absorption of Crimea (to which the bust is dedicated) to the ways of doing business in Russia during the 1990s: “Putin is from the 90s himself. This ‘badass’ ‘muscles in’ on Crimea, like a player, just as he should.”

Baretssky pointed out that he skipped an erotica festival in St. Petersburg to attend the “Emperor Putin” unveiling.

Polyakov promised to build another monument, as well, this time in honor of the Cossacks from St. Petersburg who have fought in eastern Ukraine. At the end of the ceremony, a Cossack ensemble performed folk songs and guests sat down to a celebratory feast.

The evening ends as the whole event has proceeded—strangely. Stas Baretssky, making his way to the exit, glances at the Putin bust and crosses himself, as he walks out through the gates.

Deutsche Welle
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