31 Oct 2010

Uncertainty over statue of Peter the Great

11:52 am on 31 October 2010

Critics say a giant metal statue of Peter the Great in Moscow is one of the ugliest sculptures in the world.

It was erected in 1997, but the BBC reports the statue's days may be numbered.

The steel, bronze and copper statue of Peter is taller than the Statue of Liberty and weighs 600 tons. It rests on an artificial island in the Moscow River.

Former Mayor Yuri Luzhkov commissioned the statue in the 1990s, but he was sacked by President Dmitry Medvedev last month after he fell out with the Kremlin after 18 years as mayor.

That's when Tsar Peter came under attack. Acting mayor Vladimir Resin hinted that the statue should be moved and the speaker of the upper house of parliament said it should be despatched to St Petersburg.

Moscow is reportedly abuzz with rumours: that the tsar will be chopped into pieces and sent to the scrap heap, or taken down and banished from the capital.

The fate of the statue could become clear soon. The BBC reports it will be up to new mayor Sergei Sobyanin to decide if Peter can stay put.