Meet Red Army Statue: Superman and hero friends Favorite 



Jun 17 2011


Sofia, Bulgaria

This article was published on the guardian website:

-Russia not amused at Red Army statue re-invented as Superman and friends-

Clenched teeth in Moscow over 1950s war memorial in Sofia given makeover by spray-painting street artist

By Tom Parfitt in Moscow
The Guardian, Wednesday 22 June 2011

There was Superman in red leather boots, Ronald McDonald clutching a bottle of beer, and Santa Claus about to look through a pair of binoculars.

A benign if motley bunch, you may think. But they were enough to provoke an international diplomatic rebuke, it emerged on Wednesday, after they featured in an impudent make-over of a Soviet war memorial. Members of Russia's government were said to be seething.

An unidentified street artist struck last weekend, daubing paint on a high-relief statue in Sofia, Bulgaria, to transform the monument's Red Army soldiers into a tableau of storybook characters. The artist's caption spray-painted on the statue read: "In step with the times."

Moscow was not amused. In a statement issued Wednesday, the foreign ministry urged Sofia to expose and punish the "hooligans behind the vandalism" and stop the "desecration of the memory of Soviet soldiers who fell in the name of freeing Bulgaria and Europe from Nazism".

Captain America and Batman's sidekick, Robin, also featured in the composition, which quickly became a tourist magnet.

Imposing socialist-realist war memorials have become painful reminders of Soviet rule for some countries that threw off their communist shackles in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 2007 ethnic Russians rioted in Estonia when authorities there removed the Bronze Soldier statue. One man was stabbed to death and dozens were injured.

The statue in Sofia, built to mark the 10th anniversary of Russia's "liberation" of Bulgaria in 1944, has been cleaned up. Police say they are seeking the culprit.

Translation of comments on a French blog about this act:

"I think that somehow they don't ask our opinion to erect a monument, and we cannot share what it glorifies. From there, do we have the right to storm public spaces to change the values ​​it promotes? Or we should undergo the official values​​, even if they are historically obsolete?
I think of a somewhat similar example met here in Marseille: the street signs Colbert were covered by the word "slave" (which obviously has nothing in common with the degradation of a monument, we can agree).
In all cases, the message will never please everyone, in its form or in its depth. Should we then simply abolish monuments with messages? We must admit that there's no strong tendency to erect monument anymore. I wonder what future events will have a sufficient scope and general approval to justify that we make a statue.
And I also think the excellent novel "The Chronolithes" which tells of monuments celebrating the victory of a future dictator suddenly make their appearance in our time as to taunt us and announces that defeat is inevitable. Huge monuments that destroyed portions of cities, to the glory of a tyrant, indestructible.
Ideas and tyrants are not indestructible monuments should they be?"

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