On Monday, a statue of Russian President Vladimir Putin tightening a gas valve has been placed in Prague, Czech Republic. The unusual sculpture showcases Russia’s leader appearing to do a nazi salute while also depicting President Putin with a rat tail and goblin-like features.
The statue temporarily stands on Interbrigády Square in Prague 6, and will stay there for 30 days where it will then be auctioned to raise money for the Ukrainian military.
The artist behind the statue is Dusan Dostal, a sculptor and blacksmith, who has said it took him 20 hours a day for a fortnight to create the statue.
He said: “Money raised will go to purchasing military material and donate it to Ukraine.”
According to Mr Dostal, the decision to depict Vladimir Putin tightening a gas valve is to point out the “culprit” behind the current rise in energy prices.
The statue is also raising its right arm in what appears to be a nazi salute, which the artist has said was done to make a comparison to the Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler.
The art piece has been named ‘Ahriman the Demon’, which is a spirit of evil and destruction in Persian mythology and Zoroastrianism, an Iranian religion which is thought to be one of the world’s oldest organised religions.
Mr Dostal has said the statue represents evil, and it was created during a gathering of international artists and blacksmiths which takes place at Helfštýn Castle.
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The new statue of President Putin has taken the place of a statue of the former controversial statue of Marshal Ivan Konev, which was removed in March 2020.
In 2019, an unknown person spray painted “No to the blood-covered marshal, we shall not forget” and the city did not wish to keep paying for the statue to be cleaned.
The Marshal was a Soviet general who led Red Army forces into Eastern Europe during World War Two and caused heated debate, protests and even vandalism.
Those in favour of the statue have said the Marshal and Red Army liberated Prague from Nazi occupation near the end of World War Two, while others have been critical of the Marshal’s repressive role in the Communist Eastern Bloc.
The statue of the Marshal is currently in storage and will eventually be placed in the planned Museum of the 20th Century, but there have also been talks of the statue being transferred to Russia.
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The statue of Vladimir Putin’s auction was organised by local businessman Dalibor Dědek, who has said he believes the piece could be auctioned for a six-figure sum.
Speaking to the media organisation CTK, Mr Dědek said: “The statue should send a signal to the Czech Republic that the problem in Ukraine still persists and needs to be resolved.
“The second signal is to the Ukrainians that we are with them.
“And the third should be to Russia, that just as the statue of Marshal Konev stood here before, which was perceived positively, so now they have spat on their history.”