PARIS (Reuters) – The Paris Grevin Museum on Tuesday removed the wax figure of Russian President Vladimir Putin in protest against his invasion of Ukraine and after it was damaged by visitors over the weekend.
The statue, which was created in 2000, was moved to a warehouse until further notice and the museum is considering replacing it with a statue of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Today is it no longer possible to present a character like him…for the first time in the museum’s history we are withdrawing a statue because of historical events currently under way,” museum director Yves Delhommeau told France Bleu radio.
Over the weekend the statue had suffered attacks from visitors and was looking disheveled, he said.
“Given what has happened, we and our staff do not want to have to fix his hair and appearance every day,” Delhommeau said.
A museum spokesman said it was not clear under what circumstances the statue might return.
Asked who might now replace Putin in the empty spot between the statues of U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Delhommeau said it might be Ukraine’s Zelensky.
“Maybe president Zelensky will take his place…he has become a hero for having resisted and for not fleeing his country. He could perfectly well take his place his among the great men of history and today,” he said.
In 2014, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, a demonstrator with “Kill Putin” painted across her bare chest stabbed the statue and smashed its skull.
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Angus MacSwan)