MOSCOW | The Russian orthodox Church has renounced to install a mural depicting president Vladimir Putin in a place of worship under construction near Moscow, said on Friday a representative of the clergy.
“According to the wish of the head of State, the artistic committee has decided not to install it (the mosaic),” said the bishop, Stéphane, head of this future great church, quoted by the news agency Interfax.
This building, orthodox, dedicated to the armed forces, had to include a mosaic with the face of the head of the Kremlin and that of the minister of Defence, Sergei Choïgou, in the middle of a fresco glorifying the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014.
Photos published in the press this week showed the mural being developed.
“The images were taken initially in a workshop,” added the bishop, Stéphane, indicating that the tile had not been removed from the walls of this church giant, which is due to open in may.
According to the Russian press, the interior of the building must be also decorated with a mosaic depicting the soviet dictator Joseph Stalin at the victory parade in Moscow at the end of the Second world War. It has not been indicated, for the time being, if this last will be present.
The announcement of the presence of a mosaic depicting Vladimir Putin had led to a wave of criticism in Russia, even on the part of the Kremlin.
The spokesman of the Russian presidency, Dmitri Peskov, said Saturday that by learning the new Russian president “had smiled and said, “one day the future generations will appreciate our achievements, but it is still too early to do””.
The newspaper Novaya Gazeta, citing sources close to the clergy, says that the fresco of Putin will be replaced by that of the monks brandishing an icon, even if the theme remains that of the annexation of the peninsula as Ukrainian.