The eternal flame is supposed to burn forever and represent the souls of soldiers killed in battle. They’re not supposed to be replaced by cardboard paintings.
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This is exactly what has happened in the Russian village of Pereslavskoye near the western city of Kaliningrad. Although it is referred to as an eternal flame, the village stated that it only actually lit it occasionally because it couldn’t afford to keep the gas going all the time, so thought that a cardboard painting would be a more fitting tribute.
To be honest I probably wouldn’t even bother having a tribute to our country’s fallen soldiers if I was going to half ass it so badly because it really is kind of embarrassing and shameful and this has been reflected in pretty much everyone’s reaction to it. One local TV station even said it was a bad joke.
In its defence, Russia’s chief official at the regional agency for cultural heritage Yevgeny Maslov simply said ‘tastes differ’. I suppose he’s not wrong there, but when everyone in the whole world thinks this is in bad taste you probably need to take a look at yourself.
To put the matter even more into context, the eternal flames are an extremely big deal with over 4000 of them populating the country. Not all of them are lit all the time but the situation was so much of a concern that in 2014 Vladimir Putin ordered the government to ensure uninterrupted gas supplies to all of them. This obviously hasn’t happened because Russia’s infrastructure is a complete mess, but it gives you some idea of how replacing one with a cardboard cut out might go down in that country.
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