Global Voices Online
Thursday, April 2, 2009
What one saw in this April 1 post (RUS) by LJ user drugoi looked like an April Fool's Day joke at first - a Photoshop prank, most likely: a photo of a statue of Vladimir Lenin in St. Petersburg, the Bolshevik leader's back to the Finland Train Station, with a huge hole torn in the lower part of his bronze overcoat. But the photo was taken by AP's Dmitry Lovetsky, and there were more available, from other sources (RUS), taken from different vantage points, so it must have been for real. And it was.
LJ user drugoi posted this comment to the photo:
What's humbly called "the back" in news agencies' reports is actually [Lenin's butt]. I don't think anyone will outdo the [St. Petersburgers' joke] today.
The post has generated nearly 800 comments thus far; below are some of them.
[...] Do you consider vandalism a joke?
The monument by the train station is vandalism. :-)
Yet another "volodka" [a short and playful - or, in this context, disrespectful - form of "Vladimir"], there are thousands of them all over Russia. One more, one fewer.
[...] First of all, the monument was erected at the time when there were no "thousands" of others whatsoever. This is one of the first and the best monuments to, as you say, "Volodka," and, unlike thousands of inferior copies, it is really a serious work of art created by world-renowned masters. [Vladimir Shchuko and Vladimir Gelfreikh] have also worked on the building of the [Lenin Library in Moscow], for example. Shall we [bomb] that as well? Why feel sorry for totalitarian art.
[...] It's not me who's saying this, it's a professional term used by painters/sculptors of that period. They've [littered] everything with these "volodkas," squeezed the image of the "genius of all progressive humankind" wherever they could. And I know well how it was all done, better than you do. [...]
[...] "That period," as far as I understand, is the 1920s, when the monument was erected, isn't it? I doubt you know those years well, better than I do.
But I'm not going to argue, it doesn't seem worth it. It's just amusing when someone who is not silly in general does not see the difference between [sculptors producing low-quality] "volodkas" - who have indeed littered the whole country - and the masters of architecture.
[...] Of course, not. I spent much time around the people who worked in the [monumental style] in the 1950s and later. [Makes no difference], absolutely. A whole army [of such artists] fed off "volodkas" for decades. [...] The masters, they also needed to feed themselves. And the blast, of course, is vandalism. But it was just too funny, and [I don't feel sorry for the monument at all.] [...]
It's idiotic, of course, to consider vandalism funny, but in general I now feel somewhat sorry for you, because of your defectiveness.
It is defective to love Lenin.
According to this logic, the whole city of [St. Petersburg, formerly Leningrad], beginning from its construction, is "vandalism." It stands on [human] bones. Alas, everything is so intertwined here... Yes, the Bolsheviks were treading on graves more furiously and shamelessly, but they weren't the first ones in this city... I can't think any kind thoughts about perpetuating [Lenin's memory], but explosions - it's their [the Bolsheviks'] method [...]. And there is nothing to be happy about. :(
This being April 1 (known as the Day of Laughter in this part of the world) - and despite the fact that the repairs of the monument might cost (RUS) St. Petersburg from 6 to 8 million rubles (from $177,000 to $236,000) - many bloggers chose to abstain from overly serious discussions of the incident. LJ user fildz, for example, re-posted the AP photo from LJ user drugoi's blog and held a Best Caption contest (RUS). Here are some of the entries:
The window into Russia [refers to Peter the Great's "Window into Europe"]
Avrora strikes back [refers to the symbol of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, the Aurora Cruiser]
The revolutionary energy of the masses has found a way out
[...] On April 1, [St. Petersburgers] go for below-the-belt jokes