Disgruntled resident has gone to the top in fight against city’s new public statues
By Layla Guest
A local man in the Russian city of Arkhangelsk has gone to the highest level to complain about a new public installation, arguing that statues of witches and of their cauldron fly in the face of his religious beliefs.
Last week, Sergey Samodov, the director of Arkhangelsk’s Drama Theater, shared on social media the appeal put forward by an unnamed resident directly to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, bemoaning the fact that glowing figures, depicting sorceresses, had materialized in a park in the arctic city during the festive period.
In particular, he alleged that the site on which these had been installed is the location of a pre-Soviet-era burial site of Orthodox Christian clerics.
“The idea of placing such figures makes sense, but not in a former cemetery. A citizen, as an Orthodox believer, believes that such a ‘presence’ violates his rights,” the man’s complaint reads, claiming also that, as well as bodies buried beneath the earth, there is also a cathedral.
Hitting back at the man’s appeal, Samodov told local media outlet 29.ru that an archeological study conducted back in 2019 found that “no traces of a cemetery and burial of church servants and other people were found in Petrovsky Park.” He also added that the place of worship mentioned in the complaint was located elsewhere – on the square in front of the drama theater.
According to him, it all boils down to silliness and should be taken with “a pinch of humor.” The theater director added that time spent considering the man’s attempts to ‘stir the pot’ could have been better-spent resolving someone else’s perceived “insult.”
In 2019, a coven that calls itself ‘the Empire of the Strongest Witches’ held a special ceremony in Moscow in support of the Russian president. Donning black cloaks and chanting form their spell books, the group of sorceresses gathered to hold a “Circle of Power” against evil forces.
“He who hears and does not hear, who sees and does not see, who was and will be, will not forget my word: Rise the great power of Russia, direct the path of Vladimir Putin truly and righteously, through my word,” one incantation went.