Bulgaria artists deface Soviet monument to support Ukraine protests
A monument to the Soviet Army in Bulgaria received a pro-Ukrainian makeover Sunday morning, as anonymous artists showed their support for the anti-government protests in Kiev.
A large Ukrainian flag was planted on the monument overnight in the centre of Bulgaria's capital Sofia, along with slogans including "Glory to Ukraine!"
The statue of a Soviet soldier from the Second World War was turned blue and yellow -- Ukraine's national colours -- and the phrase "Caputin" written on its pedestal, an apparent pun on the name of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Like Ukraine, Bulgaria is a former Soviet state and has faced its own spate of anti-government protests in the past year.
Russia's influence is far less strong in Bulgaria, which joined the European Union in 2007, although protesters complain of continued interference by Russian interests.
This is not the first time the Soviet monument has been defaced. In 2011, unknown artists turned the soldiers into US pop culture icons, including Superman, Captain America and fast-food mascot Ronald McDonald.
It was also painted pink last year in an anonymous commemoration of the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
Their creations have never lasted long thanks to complaints from the Russian embassy in Sofia and rapid clean-up work by pro-Russian groups.
The Red Army monument has been a constant bone of contention between Russophiles and anti-communists in Bulgaria, who want it demolished.
© 2014 AFP