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1 Apr, 2009 08:16

Famous Lenin statue damaged by explosion

An explosion in St. Petersburg has badly damaged a statue of Lenin, causing a small crater to form at its base, reports Interfax.

According to local police, an explosion with the power of roughly 300 grams of TNT occurred at around 04:30 Moscow time.

The explosive devise caused a massive hole in the back of the statue which stands in a square in front of Finlyandsky Train Station.

The perpetrators didn’t limit themselves to marring Lenin’s statue itself, latest reports suggest. A billboard near the scene, depicting the Lenin Square including the statue, has also been vandalized. A large hole is now present where the statue should be on the billboard’s panorama of the square.

A group dubbed the ‘Zalessky Flying Combat Force’ has admitted responsibility for the acts.

”Lenin and his followers have committed crimes against humanity, which have no limitation period. We believe there are good reasons to get rid of statues to Soviet leaders, and primarily of Lenin,” an address on website LiveJournal reads.

The same group was responsible for marring Lenin’s monument in Ryazan, Central Russia, in 2008.

Meanwhile, local police say that no one was injured in the blast.

Bomb experts are currently at the site trying to establish the type of explosive device used, as well as those responsible for the blast.

The Petersburg sculpture conservancy has decided to take down the statue and take it to restoration exports to repair. The city estimates that price to be around six to eight million rubles and the cost will come out of the city's budget.

“We must apologize to our citizens for the act of vandalism that happened in Russia’s cultural capital Leningrad,” said head of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Gennady Zyuganov. He is sure the police will find those vandals, but he believes the recent events are a signal of the ‘degradation of the nation’.

The director of the Museum of City Sculptures said the damages received by the statue are "non-fatal".

The famous bronze monument was erected at the site where the communist leader, from on top of an armoured vehicle, made his first speech after returning from exile in 1917.

The 10-meter statue is one of the few Soviet-era Lenin monuments to survive following the breakup of the Soviet Union.