Every once in a while, you come across something in a city that makes you do a double take. Sometimes this can be interesting, like a building with unique architecture, or it can be amazing like a national monument, but other times, the thing that grabs your attention can be downright weird. Obviously, as you can guess by the name of this section, I am about to discuss the latter. And yes, this one was quite odd.
It all happened one day in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Moscow, near a metro station on the Red Line. Normally, no one would go to this area unless you lived there, as it is entirely residential, but as it turned out, I had to go there for one of my students. At first, the whole area seemed just like any other region on the outer edges of the city. There were many gray Khrushchev-era high rise apartment buildings, and the atmosphere was significantly more calm than the busy city center. In fact, it reminded me of the area I lived during my first year there. But just as I was having these flashbacks, I saw something. And it was something that, to this day, is the most bizarre thing I've found in Moscow (which is saying a lot). This oddity was in the form of a monument to the Vietnamese Revolutionary Ho Chi Minh.
Now I know what you're probably thinking. Why is this strange? Russia was a communist country for over 70 years, and there are still statues all over the place of other communist luminaries like Lenin and Marx. Why is it strange that they would have Ho Chi Minh too? Well, here's why. Instead of being a full figure statue or even a face bust, this monument looks more like a giant, improperly formed, oval shaped medallion. And inside that medallion, there is a huge image of Mr. Minh with two lazy eyes and a creepy, stalker-like smile on his face. So basically, it isn't the most flattering depiction.
But it doesn't end there, because below the giant medallion face, there is a life size, stone statue of a large, muscular, shirtless Asian man, who happens to be crouching down while looking upward to the sky. And if this isn't weird enough, It seems as if the giant face is staring and smiling at this. I still cannot, for the life of me, figure out the message the sculptor was trying to convey, or why it was put here of all places. Anyway, though, I can go on and on about how strange it looks, but I think in this case, a picture does more than words.