Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Putin Not Pleased by Being Put on an Icon, Peskov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 12 – Icons featuring the visage of Vladimir Putin went on sale at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport for 80,000 rubles (1300 US dollars), and the Kremlin leader’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov announced Putin isn’t pleased and doesn’t welcome such things (chernovik.net/content/lenta-novostey/v-aeroportu-sankt-peterburga-poyavilas-ikona-s-izobrazheniem-putina-na).

            Putin’s display of modesty likely has more to do with the fact that people and journalists from the West would see this icon and read much into it than opposition to this use of his visage in general. After all, beginning two years ago, Russian soldiers in some units were required to kiss a Putin icon (publizist.ru/blogs/4796/25580/).

            And even earlier, Putin’s hero Stalin began to appear on icons.  In 2015, a Stalin icon was even used to bless Russia’s strategic bombers at the Engels airbase, and some Russian nationalists pressed for the canonization of the former communist dictator as an Orthodox saint   (rusjev.net/2015/06/16/svyashhennik-v-rossii-osvyatil-bazu-yadernyih-bombardirovshhikov-ikonoy-stalina-foto/).

            Putin icons aren’t the only ones having problems. The ROC MP’s Sofrino works released icons featuring the emblems of the various forces of the Russian military (ahilla.ru/voenizirovannye-ikony-s-emblemami-rodov-vojsk-predlagayut-kupit-v-sofrino/). That sparked complaints, and they were quickly withdrawn (ahilla.ru/ikonu-ili-proroka-iz-vdv-ubrali-s-sajta-sofrino-po-ukazaniyu-direktora).

            Putin’s have likely been removed from the airport in the Northern Capital, but it seems unlikely that they will disappear in locations far from where Westerners go.

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