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Memories in Bronze and Granite

© RIA Novosti . Alexei Babushkin / Go to the photo bankThe Mamayev Kurgan memorial in Volgograd
The Mamayev Kurgan memorial in Volgograd - Sputnik International
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On June 18, 2011, the inhabitants of the Bulgarian capital Sofia woke up to find the monument to Soviet Army soldiers in the city center vandalized. The bronze flag at the center of the composition was spray-painted the colors of the American flag, while the figures of the Russian soldiers were turned into pop culture heroes, such as Superman, Ronald McDonald and Santa Claus.

RussiaProfile.Org, an online publication providing in-depth analysis of business, politics, current affairs and culture in Russia, has published a new Special Report on the 20 Years since the Fall of the Soviet Union. The reports contains fourteen articles by both Russian and foreign contributors, who try to analyze the many changes that have taken place in Russian society since then and attempt to answer two perennial questions: was the collapse of the USSR the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century”, as Vladimir Putin once said, or a blessing for its people? And how far has present-day Russia departed from its Soviet past?

On June 18, 2011, the inhabitants of the Bulgarian capital Sofia woke up to find the monument to Soviet Army soldiers in the city center vandalized. The bronze flag at the center of the composition was spray-painted the colors of the American flag, while the figures of the Russian soldiers were turned into pop culture heroes, such as Superman, Ronald McDonald and Santa Claus. The monument has since been cleaned up and restored, but Russians are divided in their attitudes toward what happened. While some say that it insults the memory of Soviet soldiers who partook in liberating Europe from fascism, others claim that it is not an act of vandalism, but rather an expressive manifestation of contemporary street art.

Alternatively, space for numerous Soviet monuments could also be found at museums, as is the case with the Felix Dzerzhinsky monument, which was removed from the front of the KGB headquarters on Lubyanka Square during the putsch in Moscow in 1991 and relocated to the so-called “forgotten monuments” park near the Central House of Artists near the Moscow River embankment.

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