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Ukrainian Sculptor Unveils Yanukovych Bust

Mykola Shmatko and his sculpture titled "Among Emperors"
Mykola Shmatko and his sculpture titled "Among Emperors"
LUHANSK, Ukraine -- A sculptor in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk has unveiled a bronze bust of President Viktor Yanukovych titled "Among Emperors," RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

Mykola Shmatko told journalists at the presentation on August 3 that he decided on the title because he sees Yanukovych as one in a series of personalities that includes Roman Emperor Caligula and Alexander the Great.

The Yanukovych bust rests upon a stand in the shape of a Gordian Knot, which symbolizes Ukraine's political and social problems.

Shmatko, 66, said "today is the time of Caligula, the time of collapse of normal human relations, Ukraine's possible collapse." He added that contemporary generations of Ukrainians will look back at Yanukovych's term as president and decide if he was "a Caligula or an Alexander the Great for Ukraine."

Shmatko is an internationally known sculptor and painter whose works include a four-meter-high Virgin Mary for a Ukrainian monastery and a sculpture of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko topless. He also created a controversial piece called "Judas's Kiss" that had former President Viktor Yushchenko kissing Tymoshenko.

Shmatko told journalists he would be happy if Yanukovych came as a guest to his studio in Luhansk, where he works with two of his sons.