Red Square has fallen to the capitalists. A giant Louis Vuitton suitcase is on display in the historic Moscow landmark, just steps away from Vladimir Lenin's tomb, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The display, which stands several stories high — it is 100 feet long and 30 feet high — is part of a temporary Louis Vuitton travel exhibition that will run from early December to mid-January.
Lenin, for those who failed 20th-century world history, was the leader behind Russia's Bolshevik Revolution. He died in 1924, but his mummified remains have been on display in a mausoleum in Red Square.
Already, some Russian politicians are questioning how something so commercial as designer luggage could be displayed so close to the remains of Lenin.
From the Wall Street Journal:
"This is a sacred place for the Russian state," said Sergei Obukhov, a member of the Communist Party Central Committee. "There are some symbols that cannot be trivialized or denigrated."
People visiting Red Square have posted their own photos of the display to Twitter and other social media networks.
Interestingly, nobody appears to be coming forward to take responsibility for approving the exhibition. RT reports that "Andrey Sidyakin from the ruling United Russia party said he has launched an inquiry into the installation’s approval process with Russia’s Federal Anti-monopoly Service."
According to RT, spokespeople from the Ministry of Culture and the Presidential Property Administration have denied issuing approval for the display.
However, Mikhail Kusnirovich, the primary shareholder in Moscow's GUM department store, which is sponsoring the display, said, "As for the use of public space on Red Square, we turned to the federal authorities for approval," according to the Wall Street Journal.
The initials P.W.O. stand for Prince Wladimir Orloff, who once owned a trunk similar to the one on display. Louis Vuitton has pledged to donate proceeds from the exhibit to charity, according to the Wall Street Journal.
But that generosity has done little to stop the snark. Bloggers have taken to digitally altering other historic Russian landmarks in response to the Louis Vuitton display. Behold Lenin's mausoleum (not real, not real, not real).
- Louis Vuitton
- Vladimir Lenin