Russia has appeared in the news frequently as of late but this time perhaps not for the reason you may think.
Seems Russia is getting increasingly irritated by the fact that one of their premier Soviet statues keeps getting vandalized by Bulgarian graffiti artists. The statue in question is called Monument to the Soviet Army and was built in Sofia, Bulgaria back in 1954. Over the last few years this monument has become a tool of expression for a number of unknown Bulgarian artists to show their displeasure at certain actions conducted by Russia. One such piece (and the most famous yet) has Russian soldiers redecorated as pop culture characters. Only in this statue will you see The Joker, Santa Claus, Superman, Ronald McDonald and Captain America working together.
Underneath the statue reads Abreast with the Times. The monuments original purpose was to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Russians liberation of Bulgaria, making it perhaps the prime target for certain dissatisfied Bulgarian artists. This superhero inspired piece of graffiti was created in 2011 and became a media sensation, having a documentary called In Step with the Time created because of its popularity. This documentary covered the creation and subsequent cleanup of the monument. Though it is unclear who actually was behind this graffiti makeover, an artist simply known as the ‘Banksy of Bulgaria’ is thought to be to blame.
The cleanup did not deter the artists and in 2012 the very same monument was defaced again with the mask of V (from V for Vendetta). This was seen by many as an invitation for people to join the anti ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) protests happening at that time.
These actions kept on occurring with the monument getting a masked look in protest of Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot arrest in 2012. In 2013 the very same monument was painted in the colors of the Bulgarian flag and later on in the year colored entirely pink in honor of Bulgaria’s Prague spring period. Finally in 2014 another monument was painted, but this time in the colors of the Ukraine flag.
The Russian embassy based in Bulgaria has demand that the culprits be caught and to prevent further bouts of graffiti (which over the years has spread to cover many other historical monuments), after the monument was sprayed red recently to celebrate the Bulgarian Socialist Party’s 123rd anniversary. How well Bulgaria will actually cope in preventing this kind of graffiti remains unclear, with the monument become the template for all manner of groups to vent their problems out to the wide world. Some may see it as vandalism, others as an expressive way to air out hidden problems. What we know for sure is it is a fascinating part of Bulgarian’s subculture history and an interesting look at how historical monuments can be subverted to different causes believes.
Do you think the monuments graffiti is art or vandalism? Why not let Geek know in the comments section below.