Russian embassy irate over pop art on Sofia monument

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Russia's embassy in Sofia on Tuesday slammed as "outrageous" the brief transformation by unknown artists of a Soviet army monument into a tableau of superheroes and other pop culture figures.

"The Russian embassy is again compelled to highlight an outrageous act of vandalism against the Soviet army monument in Sofia," the embassy said in a statement noting the "exceptional cynicism" of the deed.

The artists on Saturday painted as comic strip heroes the nine figures of a bronze relief sculpture that is part of the massive downtown monument honouring the Red Army's advance on Nazi-allied Bulgaria during World War II.

The pop art creation with the caption "Abreast with the Times" drew crowds of people over the weekend, posing to have their picture taken with Superman, Santa Claus, McDonald's clown mascot Ronald, Captain America, Batman's junior counterpart Robin and his villainous arch-enemy the Joker.

The flamboyant coat of paint on the monument had been cleaned up by early Tuesday.

But the incident fanned an ongoing debate over the monument's future between Russophiles and anti-communists in Bulgaria, who have long pressed for its demolition.

Prosecutor are still looking for the unknown authors of the stunt.

Some 1,700 people rallied on the social network Facebook on Monday against the cleaning of the sculpture.

© 2011 AFP

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