Just a week after Steven Seagal played guitar at a hard-rockin’ motorcycle rally in the Crimean port of Sevastopol that was attended by Vladimir Putin on a motorcycle, a group of four scaled a Moscow skyscraper to paint the Soviet star in the national colors of the Ukraine. In addition, they attached a Ukrainian flag atop the 580-foot building that lies east of the Kremlin on the Moscow River.
Stalin-Era Skyscraper: Protesters or vandals?
Not surprisingly, the “symbolic” gesture, as it was called by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, was not viewed kindly by Russian authorities. The four suspects, two women and two men, were charged with vandalism which can be punished by up to three years in prison. Given the situation, each will presumably receive three years in prison in the very near future.
According to various Russian news agencies citing the police, the four were detained with climbing equipment but deny that they planted the flag or painted the Soviet star. Rather they maintained that all they did was scale the building in order to parachute off the 580-foot (176 meters) building. The skyscraper on the Kotelnicheskaya embankment at the mouth of the Yauza River, is near a 26-story residential block that was built in the Stalinist Epoch (1938-1952).
Stalin-Era Skyscraper: Artistic BASE Jumping?
Despite the arrests, a spokesman for the Russian emergencies ministry, Roman Kilkeyev, told AFP, “The flag was attached by unidentified criminals to the top of the Kotelnicheskaya Embankment skyscraper.”
The LifeNews media site posted a video that it said shows one of the protesters parachuting off of the building shortly after dawn and landing in an inner courtyard.
Workers were dispatched nearly immediately to repaint the star in gold and remove the flag.
The protest, or act of vandalism, comes less than a week before Ukraine will celebrate its independence from the former Soviet Union which they earned on August 24, 1991.
With all the death that the conflict has brought including the downing of a commercial airliner, Steven Seagal and today’s protest have lightened up the struggle if only a little bit.