2021-01-13 13:24:00

Circus in Russia's Udmurtia says photos of animals with Nazi symbols Christmas celebration that caused scandal were taken out of context

Izhevsk, January 13, Interfax - Nazi symbols were demonstrated at the State Circus of Udmurtia in a performance that depicted Red Army troops driving away Nazi troops, the establishment's director Andrey Leshchinsky said.

"It was a performance in which animal handlers dressed as Red Army troops were driving away trained goats wearing covers with Nazi symbols, reinforcing the effect of the text and the visual effects," he was quoted as saying in a statement posted on the website of Udmurtia's circus.

"A viewer photographed the animals, taking the performance out of the context, and posted [it] on a social network, causing a scandal," Leshchinsky said.

The performance had a historical insight into the role of the church in Russia's history, the director said. Nazi symbols were used in the episode called "year 1942," when a pivotal moment in the history of the Great Patriotic War occurred on January 7. "In the script, the episode was accompanied by a text and visual effects on screens depicting the defeat of the German army near Moscow," he said.

Leshchinsky also said such actions are allowed by Article 20.3 of the Russian Code of Administrative Violations. "They do not lead to administrative liability if taken for purposes not associated with the propaganda of Nazi attributes and symbols, including, in particular, research work, artistic activities, and work on other materials condemning Nazism or dealing with historical events," he said.

According to earlier reports, prosecutors and the Interior Ministry's directorate for Udmurtia began a probe into the demonstration of Nazi symbols on the covers of animals during the First Archbishop's Christmas celebration for children from Sunday schools held at the State Circus of Udmurtia on January 8.

The press service for the Izhevsk and Udmurt Diocese said the piece was devoted to the events of Russian history associated with Christmas, including the turning point in the Battle for Moscow in January 1942. The performance, which involved animal handlers in Soviet military uniform and animals bearing Nazi symbols, was used not just as an image of victory over fascism, but as the overall victory over and global condemnation of the ideals of Nazi Germany, it said.