A young man living in Vladivostok has defaced a new statue of Nobel-prize-winning writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, hanging a sign reading “JUDAS” around Solzhenitsyn’s neck. On September 6, a day after the city unveiled the monument, the man filmed himself on the street beside the statue, where he explained to the camera that Solzhenitsyn was a “traitor” and a “Russophobe.”
The man in the video appears to be Maxim Shinkarenko, a local 28-year-old Stalinist. On his Vkontakte page, Shinkarenko expresses an interest in tanks, the Russian state television network RT, and the Communist Party.
In his video, Shinkarenko complains that he asked the city’s officials a year ago to erect a monument to Josef Stalin, in honor of the 70th anniversary of the USSR’s victory in World War II, but his request was rejected. According to the authorities, Shinkarenko says, there is no suitable place in Vladivostok for a new Stalin statue. Shinkarenko, however, insists that the city would prefer a monument to Stalin over the one it just erected to Solzhenitsyn. He even cites a seemingly random online survey showing that 75 percent of those polled say the new Solzhenitsyn statue is “unnecessary.”
Vladivostok police say they are investigating the vandalism of the Solzhenitsyn monument, to determine if any crime was committed.