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How to Turn Something Sacred Into Something Sinister - BBC Style

The BBC transforms a monument to unity into a symbol of repression

It doesn’t seem to matter these days what aspect of Russia you undermine – its leaders, politics or culture. This article by the BBC’s Caroline Wyatt is yet another attempt to find fault with something which is, quite frankly, difficult to find fault with!

The construction of Moscow’s own St. Vladimir statue is apparently causing ‘alarm’ in Moscow.  Really? I think the only alarm being raised at the moment is the plan to station more military at Russia’s borders and the escalating global tension in this regard. But instead Wyatt spins a tale of Russians yet again having issues taken out of their hands.

Only as an afterthought does the author mention the purpose of the monument’s construction — to commemorate the 1000 year anniversary of Vladimir’s death. In addition she completely fails to explain that its location was discussed and debated by city officials for months beforehand. The location on Vorobyevy Gory was eventually decided upon after various other places were ruled out, including a spot near the Church of Christ the Saviour.  From this article one would think the opposite — that this was something imposed on Muscovites against their will. She doesn’t even mention that the  current design of statue was the result of a competition held by authorities back in December. But then why give the impression that Muscovites had say in this?  Russians are repressed, remember!


St. Vladimir, the ‘Grand Prince of Kiev’, brought Orthodox Christianity to Russia and was a spiritual leader for both Ukrainians and Russians. His statue on the banks of the Dnepr in Kiev is one of the city's most iconic images. By erecting its own St. Vladimir statue at this difficult time for Ukrainian/Russian relations Russia is, to my mind, emphasising that although the Ukrainian government may wish to erase its historically close ties with Russia (embodied in ‘Kievan Rus’), Russia will not. Wyatt on the other hand misses this symbolism completely and attempts to conflate the construction of a sacred monument with the familiar line of Russian despotism.

The artistic merit in the monument’s construction is also completely ignored and yet it cannot be denied that the erection of this sculpture will be an incredible feat of craftsmanship and engineering. What the Kievans will do with their Vladimir is unknown, but Moscow’s will certainly look spectacular on Vorobyevy Gory.

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

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