Monument to the Soviet Army, Sofia

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The main pedestal, 37 m high

The Monument to the Soviet Army (Bulgarian: Паметник на Съветската армия, Pametnik na Savetskata armia) is a monument located in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. There is a large park around the statue and the surrounding areas. It is a popular place where many young people gather. The monument is located on Tsar Osvoboditel Boulevard, near Orlov Most and the Sofia University. It represents a soldier from the Soviet Army, surrounded by a woman and a man from Bulgaria. There are other, secondary sculptural compositions part of the memorial complex around the main monument. The monument was built in 1954.

Graffiti[edit]

Popart composition[edit]

Popart composition, painted as comics characters, June 2011

On June 17, 2011 the monument was painted overnight by unknown artists, who "dressed" the Soviet Army soldiers as American comics heroes and characters: Superman, Joker, Robin, Captain America, Ronald McDonald, Santa Claus, Wolverine, The Mask, and Wonder Woman, with a caption underneath which translates as "Abreast with the Times" (in Bulgarian "V krak s vremeto", literally "In pace with time").[1][2] The monument was cleaned in the late hours of June 20, 2011. The event was widely covered by the international media and provoked serious pro and anti-Russian discussion in the Bulgarian society.[3] The story was filmed in the short documentary In Step With The Time directed by Anton Partalev and includes anonymous interviews with the artists. The film won the second prize in 2013 IN OUT FESTIVAL in Poland. [4]

Anti-ACTA[edit]

The monument again was used as a ground of artistic expression and social stance when in February 10, 2012 the soldiers of it were given Anonymous masks of Guy Fawkes, the photo of this was spread in Sofia and Bulgaria as an invitation to anti-ACTA protests held in February 11, 2012 in Bulgaria and Europe.[5]

Other[edit]

Further, the monument was used as a ground for protest for Pussy Riot arrest when in August 17, 2012 was photographed with Pussy Riot masks. In February 1, 2013 in the national day for the commemoration of the victims of communism three of the figures of the monument were painted in white, red and green, the colors of the Bulgarian national flag.

On 21 August 2013 unknown artists painted the monument in pink in honour of the anniversary of the Prague spring. There was an inscription in Bulgarian and Czech which read "Bulgaria apologises".[6]

23 February 2014: The "Glory to Ukraine" installation

On 23 February 2014, the monument was once more painted by unknown perpetrators, this time in the national colours of Ukraine. The phrase "Glory to Ukraine" was written in Ukrainian on the monument, as well as an obscene reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The act was in support of the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution.[7]

Movement for the removal of the monument[edit]

Among right-wing supporters in Bulgaria the movement for removal or demolition of the monument is very strong while at the opposite side hold the Russophiles who insist on keeping it. It has a special place as a gathering (evenings) place of skaters, ravers, rasta and other subcultural groups around it who feel its atmosphere somewhat surrealistic or unreal, between the tension of pro and anti- groups and the natural occupants of the place the monument pop-art events are being brought with its unique for the Bulgarian urban art place.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ (Bulgarian) Photogallery, Dnevnik, June 18, 2011
  2. ^ Russian embassy irate over pop art on Sofia monument, AFP, Jun 18, 2011
  3. ^ Russia not amused at Red Army statue re-invented as Superman and friends, Guardian News June 22, 2011
  4. ^ IN OUT FESTIVAL 2013 - AWARDS
  5. ^ Sofia awakes with a Monument of the Anonymous army (Bulgarian), bnews, February 11, 2012
  6. ^ "On 21 August 2013 unknown artists painted the monument in pink in honour of the anniversary of the Prague spring. There was an inscription in Bulgarian and Czech which read "Bulgaria apologises".". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  7. ^ "Soviet Army Monument in Sofia Painted in Ukraine Colors". Novinite (Sofia News Agency). 2014-02-23. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 

External links[edit]