The Victory Day parade on May 9 is one of Russia‘s most important national events. It is a remembrance of the Soviet sacrifice made in defeating Nazi Germany in what is known in Russia as the “Great Patriotic War”. But the military parade has been disrupted by an image of Putin filled with the blood of Ukrainian soldiers appearing on people’s smartphones.
Andrei Molodkin, a Russian conceptual artist, has created a sculpture filled with 850g of blood from eight Ukrainian soldiers.
The former Soviet soldier turned artist has digitally shared his masterpiece with people gathered in Moscow for the military parade in a bid to expose Putin as a “bloody criminal”.
More than 200,000 people within a one-mile radius of the parade are expected to view the chilling sculpture geonavigationally using augmented reality (AR) technology.
The technology used to share it was produced at The Foundry, Mr Molodkin’s radical art production site.
The video only appears if the phone is located in Moscow.
Mr Molodkin told Express.co.uk: “It’s a very simple idea. Putin is a bloodthirsty criminal who initiated this war and is responsible for the death of these people.
“He spills the blood of the innocent to serve his own interests.”
He hopes sharing his artwork will help to “deconstruct the propaganda and brainwashing” that the Kremlin is sharing about the war in Ukraine.
“I believe that our culture can change the world,” he added.
Mr Molodkin attributes his unusual style to growing up in Boui, Russia.
He told Express.co.uk: “People seem to think I am a conceptual artist because I do not use paint, I do not use bronze or marble but I use human blood or crude oil or ballpoint pen.
“I grew up it was a very small city, a very small industrial city.
“In the city it was mainly prisoner people because they say after prison people are not allowed to live in Moscow.
“We didn’t have any museums there but we did have an industrial zone.
“I would look at the tattoos of the prisoners and it would surprise me to see these crazy images.
“I was really impressed and surprised to observe the culture of the prisoner’s tattoos so I really draw on alternative culture.
“Living near the prisoner people is an education in strange culture.”
Three of the soldiers who gave their blood for the project are on the front line, the others are waiting to be mobilised.
Sacha Levchuk is one of the soldiers who donated his blood before returning to Ukraine to fight.
His wife Kristina and their two young children are staying with Mr Molodkin in Maubourguet, Southwestern France.
She tells Express.co.uk that it has been an extremely stressful process to move her two young children to safety.
She said: “We no longer have to fear waking up with some of the building falling down, so slowly the stress is being reduced.”
Mrs Levchuk urged Western leaders to create a no-fly zone over Ukraine to prevent Russian troops from completely destroying it.
NATO and the West has so far refused to the demand – which has been echoed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and others – because they fear Putin will interpret it as a direct act of war.