World Peace Monument, Helsinki
South of Hakamienitori Square, on the Hakamienenranta Waterfront, is a bronze sculpture of Maailman rauha (World Peace), unveiled on January 14, 1990. The monument was designed by Soviet sculptor Oleg Kiryukhin and is the result of a cultural exchange between Helsinki and Moscow. At the same time, the sculpture "Children of the World" by Antti Neuvonen was opened in Moscow. This action was held two months after the fall of the Berlin Wall and symbolizes the end of the Cold War.
The public reaction to the three figures raising their hands with clenched fists was extremely negative, and Helsinki Mayor Raimo Ilaskivi had to admit: "It's an impressive and interesting piece of work, but it has sparked discussion." Journalist Hannu Marttila accused the author of plagiarizing the Paris fountain "Four Continents" by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux. Adherents of tolerance and multiculturalism note that the sculpture symbolizes the friendship of peoples of different ethnic groups, but there is no representative of Asia among the figures. Helsinki residents gave the monument the nickname "Thieves". In a 2008 newspaper reader survey, the sculpture was named the third ugliest in Helsinki, but it was also ranked third in popularity.
The monument was the object of several acts of vandalism: On October 10, 1991, Finnish Literature Day (Alexis Kiwi Day), members of the Feather Group student community doused the sculpture with resin and sprinkled it with feathers. The protesters said they considered the sculpture ugly and demanded that the city authorities demolish the monument. The next incident occurred on the night of September 10, 2010, when an unsuccessful attempt was made to blow up the monument with a gas cylinder. The police opened a serious crime case, but the organizers of the explosion were never found. 6 years later, a criminal arrested in another case confessed to the attempted bombing. On the night of August 24, 2014, on the eve of the Independence Day of Ukraine, Ukrainian flags appeared on the sculpture in protest against the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula by Russia.