The Russian ambassador to Poland has denounced as blasphemous "pseudo-art" a statue depicting a Soviet soldier raping a pregnant woman, which briefly appeared in Gdansk over the weekend.
The offending work of art, entitled "Komm Frau," German for "Come Here Woman," had been installed on Gdansk's Avenue of Victory on Saturday. Polish authorities removed the statue on Sunday, saying that it had been put there illegally, while Szumczyk was brought in for questioning by the police before being released, Polish Radio reported.
The sculptor, fifth-year art student Jerzy Szumczyk, said he "was unable to cope" with the accounts he read about rape by Soviet servicemen as they advanced toward Berlin in 1944 and 1945, and felt compelled to express his feelings.
"I am deeply outraged by the stunt by a Gdansk Fine Arts Academy student, who has defiled by his pseudo-art the memory of 600,000 Soviet servicemen who gave their lives in the fight for the freedom and the independence of Poland," Russian ambassador Alexander Alexeyev said in a
"We consider the installation of the statue as an expression of hooliganism, marked by an explicitly blasphemous nature," Alexeyev said. "The vulgar statue on the city's main street insults not only the feelings of Russians, but of all clear-headed people who remember to whom they owe their liberation from the Nazis."
Some historians estimate that up to 2 million German women, and large numbers of Polish women, were raped in the final months of World War II by soldiers of the advancing Red Army. However, Russian authorities maintain that the figures are flagrantly exaggerated.