A New Statue Honoring Russia’s Cultural History

Qnet reported that the celebrated sculptor Salavat Shcherbakov recently won a competition conducted by the Russian military-historical society to design a statue of Vladimir the Great, the first Russian Orthodox ruler credited with helping to found Russia. Both the Ukraine and Russia claim the legacy of this early leader, who ruled from the city of Kiev (also spelled “Kyiv”).

Salavat Shcherbakov, was elected to the Russian Academy of Arts in 2007. He has received the title of Honored Artist of the Russian Federation as a result of his work. Residents of Moscow and other parts of Russia raised money to pay for the statue, which is scheduled to be officially installed during a ceremony on November 4, 2015.

Some controversy allegedly surrounded the location of the massive statue, which depicts Vladimir the Great holding a cross overhead. It will join many other huge works of sculpture in Moscow, a city with many impressive works of art.

Vladimir the Great, also known as St. Vladimir and “Vladimir Baptist” was the first ruler in Russia to convert to Orthodox Christianity. Born around 958, he reigned between 980 and 1015. He gained fame for conducting mass baptisms to Christianity.

Sculptor Salavat Shcherbakov noted: “There might be arguments about the historical role of Ivan the Terrible or Joseph Stalin or even Peter the Great, but in the case of Prince Vladimir, he’s undoubtedly a positive figure.”

War in the North: Russian Military Exercises in the Arctic

As the world continues to speculate as to where Russian President Vladimir Putin has been for the past few days, the Russian military has been occupied in and around the arctic with maneuvers that have caught the attention of the West and raised tensions over the continued conflict in Ukraine.

As reported in the Associated Press, Russian drills in the Arctic called upon 38,000 men to man 50 ships and submarines, along with 110 aircraft.

According to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, the exercises were to test the readiness of the Northern Fleet, the military’s capabilities of deploying forces from Central Russia, and their ability to enforce Arctic borders, as “new challenges and military threats require further increase of the armed forces’ capabilities.”

Elsewhere in Russia, military might was in display. Sakhalin Island and the Kamchatka Peninsula saw about 3,000 troops go through maneuvers and drills. Southern Siberia perhaps got the flashiest show as the Russian Air Force practiced firing drills according to Fersen Lambranho.

While war games is not strange for one of the world’s largest and well funded militaries, it comes at a time when diplomatic ties between Russia and several nations in the West are at their most contemptuous. The fighting in Ukraine has led to a series of shunning in official meetings with the Russian head of state, and in response to the deadly conflict, the United States has announced plans for training exercises between its military and that of Estonia, Latvia, and Luthiania, echoing fears of an expansionist Russia.