Deeply disturbing musical Vladimir Putin doll showing him annexing Crimea could sell for millions at auction in Germany

The haunting ‘portrait’ of the Russian president has been created by world-renowned Swiss puppet maker Christian Bailly

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The Independent Online

A stalwart of horror films and nightmares, music box figurines that move on their own are inherently a bit creepy.

Spare a thought, then, for the presumably very rich buyer who goes for this haunting automaton of Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, as he signs the treaty that annexed Crimea.

The item, a meticulous one-off creation by the world-renowned puppet maker Christian Bailly, will go on sale at a special auction in Cologne, Germany next month – and could fetch millions of dollars, according to the Moscow Times.

Based at a workshop in Switzerland, French-born Bailly is famous for his very complicated and as a result costly moving figurines.

He can claim to have made the world’s most expensive doll, after a previous creation “The Bird Trainer” was priced at $6.25 million (£3.9 million). A four-foot-tall young man carrying a sword, flute and small songbird, it needs around 2,300 gilt or polished-steel parts to bring it to life.

The doll depicts President Putin signing the treaty annexing Crimea to the Russian Federation

In a description on auction house Breker’s website, Bailly’s new masterpiece was described as “a unique contemporary automaton depicting a significant political event”.

As with many of Bailly’s pieces, the Putin doll is inspired by the past masters of pre-electric mechanisms – in this case Gustave Vichy's automaton “Pierrot Ecrivain” (Writing Pierrot).

The doll, shown here in a video released by the auction house, wears a tiny blue wool suit and hand-sewn leather shoes

“Putin Ecrivain” sits at a height of 20 inches, seated at a rosewood writing desk as he signs through the “Treaty of Acceptance of the Republic of Crimea into the Russian Federation” on 18 March 2014.

Dressed in a tiny blue wool suit, spotted tie and hand-sewn leather shoes, the president is portrayed “at work on the document at his desk,” Breker’s description said.


“Putin's right hand moves across the paper with a realistic motion followed by his concentrated gaze until, apparently tired by his efforts, the lamp light dims and his head falls, as though on the verge of sleep,” it read.

“Waking, he turns up the lamp and continues writing. The figure's movements are accompanied by a traditional Russian waltz.”

Bailly's doll will go on sale on 14-15 November. An asking price has not yet been set - in case you were tempted to go along.