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Finland was a part of the Russian Empire until after the October 1917 Revolution, when it regained its independence. However, during World War II, although the Soviet Union failed to win Finland back by force, it did manage to reclaim one small territory, formerly known as Kakisalmi in Finnish or Kexholm in Swedish, but now called Priozersk (Приозерск), and the Russian Federation held on to it after the fall of Communism.
The park near the Boulevard in Priozersk has a couple of ex-Soviet monuments. One of them, perhaps predictably, is a tank, probably of WWII vintage. The other one is more interesting. Standing on a stepped pedestal, in front of some typically boring Soviet-built apartment blocks, is a polychrome-painted statue, apparently sculpted in the late 1960s, depicting a lifesize nude Mowgli crouching beside Bagheera (Maugli and Bagira/Маугли и Багира in Russian) as they both peer intently into the distance. According to the translated text on a couple of sites the sculptor was one Boris Karagat or Karagot, but I can’t find any independent confirmation of that. Apparently the statue replaced a monument to Stalin, which is nicely ironic - the great dictator overthrown by the child of nature.
Unfortunately the statue’s surface is pretty rough (I don’t know what it’s made of, but I’m always tempted to imagine it’s the same cheap concrete they built the apartment blocks with - I just hope there’s no asbestos in it!), and its paintwork is sometimes in a dreadful state as you can see from this detail shot showing part of Mowgli’s back.
Naturally enough, some of the photos with the best picture quality show the statue in its worst condition. In some of them, the paint is peeling so badly it looks as if Mowgli is suffering from some hideous skin disease that’s eating his face! I decided not to include any of those.
As it is, the photos I have included show varying degrees of damage - it seems the statue is periodically patched up and repainted, but what it really needs in my opinion is to be taken away and replaced by a replica sculpted from more durable materials.
Anyway, these photos, posted by Russian photographers in various places, do give a good cross-section of views of the statue in northern Russia’s changing seasons.
Yes, I know, wrong pronunciation, but I just couldn’t resist the pun. Besides, it’s quite funny seeing the naked jungle boy covered in snow in what must be blisteringly cold temperatures. On the other hand, of course, snow and ice are probably the major cause of the statue’s constantly peeling paintwork...
This is an image that Marc found. You’ll notice that it’s not in the same place, and the angle indicates that it’s definitely not on the raised pedestal. The obvious conclusion is that it’s a copy in another location. In fact, the auto-translation of the accompanying text on its original page would seem to indicate that it’s in the Novosibirsk district of central Siberia, which is thousands of kilometres from Priozersk in northwestern Russia! So how did it get there? We may never know - this is the only photo either of us has found of this version, and I can’t find any other references to it in either Roman or Cyrillic searches.
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