Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Saturday, May 26, 2018

New Leo Tolstoy bust vandalized

New Leo Tolstoy bust vandalized
An anarchist symbol was removed from this statue on Dec. 3.

An “A” with a circle around it, a known anarchy symbol, was drawn with a marker on the bust of author Leo Tolstoy between Dec. 1 and Dec. 2.

The lettering underneath the bust was also colored in with black paint.

The symbol was removed Dec. 3 by a grounds worker. Mark Feist, assistant director of grounds and vehicle maintenance and support services, was alerted of the situation after the Eagle inquired about the vandalism.

Chemicals were used after the mark was erased to prevent the ink from bleeding into the stone, Feist said.

“The vandalism of the Tolstoy bust remains an active investigation,” said Will Sowers, manager of administrative services for the Department of Public Safety.

Sculptor Gregory Pototsky donated the bust to AU in mid-November.

AU Initiative for Russian Culture Executive Director Anton Fedyashin does not believe the anarchy symbol was a direct attack on the IRC or Tolstoy.

“I feel a little insulted personally, because as the executive director of the IRC I put a lot of effort into helping bring this bust to campus,” Fedyashin said. “And I’m not alone in that.”

College of Arts and Sciences Dean Peter Starr, who also helped place the bust on campus, said that this would not deter future projects from the IRC at AU.

Hilary Bergen, a senior in CAS, attended the unveiling in November. She was excited to have a symbol of Russian culture at AU, but was surprised by the vandalism.

“The fact that someone would deface it is a slap in the face to everything the IRC has worked for,” Bergen said. “Even if you have a problem with a policy, government or ideology, you need to appreciate that this was a gift to our University from a distinguished sculptor and should be a symbol of prestige and pride instead of ridicule or a platform for your political standpoint.”

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