A Russian village built a monument to Vladimir Putin, but then it removed him from the statue at the last minute
Vladimir Putin’s personality cult has reached some spectacular heights over the past two decades. Young women have torn their shirts for him, defrauded apartment owners have addressed SOS messages painted on rooftops to him, and pop musicians have written hit songs about him. This Tuesday, however, the village of Chastoozerye in the Kurgan region apparently went too far when it unveiled “Serving the Fatherland” — a new monument dedicated to Vladimir Putin.
Originally, it was supposed to feature Putin standing at a podium labeled with the presidential coat of arms. Behind him, beneath the flags of Tsarist Russia, the USSR, and the Russian Federation, stood a map of Russia (one that includes Crimea but leaves out Kaliningrad and the Kuril Islands). When the monument was formally unveiled on May 29, however, the 3.5-meter-tall (11.5-foot-tall) Putin statue had vanished.
The State Duma deputy credited with thinking up the idea for the monument, Alexander Iltyakov, has floated two different explanations for the last-minute change to the monument: (1) He decided not to start a nationwide competition among Russian towns to build more grandiose Putin monuments; and (2) Putin was removed so visitors could stand at podium themselves and take Russia’s 33-word presidential oath with a symbolic representation of Russia at their backs.
Sources also told the news website Znak.com that the Kremlin apparently signaled its disapproval of a monument to Putin, and Iltyakov apparently agreed to rework the statue.