The Barmaley is an informal name of a fountain in the city of Volgograd (formerly known as Stalingrad). Its official name is Children's Khorovod. The statue is of a circle of six children dancing around a crocodile. While the original fountain was removed in the 1950s, two replicas were installed in 2013.
The original fountain is believed to have been installed in the 1930s, when the Soviet Union was being adorned with various outdoor architectural works, including similar fountains designed by sculptor Romuald Iodko, a co-author of the Girl with an Oar, an archetype of the Soviet kitsch. The Barmaley Fountain was made widely known from several August 1942 photographs by Emmanuil Evzerikhin that juxtaposed the carnage of the Battle of Stalingrad with the image of children at play.
The fountain was restored after World War II and was removed in the 1950s. A replica has been installed at the original site, for the 23 August 2013, for the 71st anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad.
Two replicas of the fountain were installed in 2013 at different locations in Volgograd, one of them nearby the very same railway station. A terrorist attack in December 2013 once more placed the fountain against the scene of destruction, reminiscent of the wartime photo.
Another replica was installed in front of the Museum of Defense of Tsaritsyn.
The statue featured prominently in the films Enemy at the Gates, Stalingrad and a similar statue was seen in V for Vendetta. It is also seen in the film A Clockwork Orange, in the documentary footage shown to the main character Alex as part of the sinister aversion therapy to "cure" him of "ultra-violence".
The allegory of the monument was derived from the eponymous fairy tale poem written in 1925 by Korney Chukovsky. Excerpt (literal translation):
Little children! / For nothing in the world / Do not go to Africa / Do not go to Africa for a walk! // In Africa, there are sharks, / In Africa, there are gorillas, / In Africa, there are large / Evil crocodiles / They will bite you, / Beat and offend you - // Don't you go, children, / to Africa for a walk / In Africa, there is a robber, / In Africa, there is a villain, / In Africa, there is terrible / Bahr-mah-ley! // He runs about Africa / And eats children - / Nasty, vicious, greedy Barmaley!
While being burned in fire by Barmaley, Doctor Aybolit asked a crocodile brought in by a gorilla to swallow up Barmaley, so that he could no longer harm little children. The crocodile did so, but Barmaley was later released after promising to change. Barmaley became nicer and proclaimed he would be kinder, that he now loved little children and would become a friendly baker.
- "Fountain 'Children's Khorovod'" (Russian)
- "Fountain symbolic of Stalingrad battle restored for 70th anniversary". RT. 23 August 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
- Graff, Ellen (1997). "Chapter 2: Workers Dancing". Stepping Left: Dance and Politics in New York City, 1928-1942. Duke University Press. p. 49. ISBN 0-8223-1948-9.
- Manning, Susan (2004). "Chapter 3: In the Shadow of War". Modern Dance, Negro Dance: Race in Motion. University of Minnesota Press. p. 119. ISBN 0-8166-3736-9.
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