New Russian cathedral glorifies Putin and Stalin in mosaics

Archpriest insists image of Soviet dictator is ‘wholly appropriate’

Chiara Giordano
Tuesday 28 April 2020 11:58 BST
Comments
The Resurrection of Christ Cathedral, the main Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Russian Armed Forces, which is under construction in the Patriot Park outside Moscow, Russia, 22 April 2020.
The Resurrection of Christ Cathedral, the main Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Russian Armed Forces, which is under construction in the Patriot Park outside Moscow, Russia, 22 April 2020.

A new Russian cathedral dedicated to the Armed Forces will be adorned with mosaics depicting Vladimir Putin and Joseph Stalin.

Standing at 95 metres tall, the Resurrection of Christ Cathedral will become the third largest Orthodox Christian church in the world when it opens at the military-themed Patriot Park outside Moscow on 9 May.

The official opening will take place the same day Russia marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

The interior of the church, which has six golden domes, has been decorated with traditional religious paintings.

But there are also a number of bright mosaics depicting the Russian president and other officials, as well as the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

In one of the mosaics, first revealed by Russia’s MBKh News website, Mr Putin is seen alongside defence minister Sergei Shoigu, Federal Security Service director Alexander Bortnikov and other top officials.

Another mosaic illustrating the victory parade of 1945 following the defeat of Nazi Germany shows soldiers lined up holding a banner with a picture of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

A separate part of the mosaic also shows a group of women with the words “Crimea is Ours” above them, in reference to Russia seizing the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.

Stalin's rule saw the purging of thousands of Russians suspected of disloyalty in the late 1930s and many others were sent to slave labour camps.

However the Russian Orthodox Church insisted the images are “appropriate”.

Archpriest Leonid Kalinin, chair of the experts’ council for church art, architecture and restoration, told Russian news agency TASS: “The Art Council considers these images to be absolutely appropriate, reflecting the historical truth, from which pages cannot be torn out arbitrarily.”

The archpriest reportedly admitted not everyone was happy with the decision to include the image of Stalin, but said they “reluctantly” went ahead because of the former Soviet leader’s contribution to the victory over Nazi Germany.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in