Bulgaria's Soviet sculpture given makeover in latest indignity

SOFIA (AFP) - In the latest indignity suffered by Soviet-era monuments in Bulgaria, unknown artists on Saturday transformed a huge sculpture into a colossal version of a traditional lucky charm in the eastern European country.

The two giant figures of a man and a woman - representing participants in Bulgaria's anti-fascist resistance movement who descended from the mountains to greet the Soviet army at the end of World War II - were wrapped in white and red cloth.

They resembled the red-and-white yarn figurines of traditional Bulgarian folklore that people here exchange on March 1 as lucky charms to wish each other health during the year.

The makeover comes less than a week after another Soviet army monument in downtown Sofia was painted in the blue and yellow colours of the Ukrainian flag and adorned with the caption of "Glory to Ukraine!!!" to back anti-government protests in Kiev.

In 2011, unknown artists had turned the monument's soldiers into pop culture heroes - including Superman, Captain America and fast-food mascot Ronald McDonald - with buckets of paint.

The monument was also painted pink last year in an anonymous commemoration of the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

The creations of the anonymous artists do not last more than several hours as they are condemned by an angry Russian embassy in Sofia and quickly cleaned up by pro-Russian organisations in the country.

The Soviet army monuments have been a constant bone of contention between Russophiles and anti-communists in Bulgaria, who want them demolished.