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Kazakh Monument Unveiled, Quickly Removed Amid Ridicule

The monument to Abai Kunanbaev (left) and Yevgeny Mikhaelis in Oskemen was widely ridiculed as disproportionate and ugly.

A monument dedicated to two Kazakh intellectuals has been removed from public display, just one day after it was unveiled in the eastern city of Oskemen.

City authorities said the monument was dismantled on June 24 ahead of a visit by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev due to technical reasons, as well as "some inconsistencies in the monument's appearance."

Local residents had ridiculed the monument, saying the sculptures of prominent Kazakh poet and philosopher Abai Kunanbaev and prominent Russian scientist Yevgeny Mikhaelis were disproportionate and ugly.

Mikhaelis lived in the region for decades and died in Oskemen in 1913. Kunanbaev died in 1904.

Local residents said the sculptures looked as if the two men were taking a "selfie" and gave the monument the nickname "Dwarfs With An iPhone."

The monument was designed by Oskemen sculptors Vladimir Samoilov and Yevgeny Nepyanov. They have not commented on the controversy.

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