Russia: From Ice soldiers to Z symbol, a different kind of Christmas in Siberia’s Chita, IN PICS

At some of the most significant multilateral and bilateral talks, world leaders have urged Russia and Ukraine to engage in diplomatic talks to end the war. Russia Day and Ukraine Independence Day have passed, but the war that began in late February is still going on. In contested Ukrainian territory, Russia has staged referendums, but the bomb shellings from both sides have continued.

Ice 1

And now, Christmas is just around the corner. The holiday spirit is on the verge of taking flight, like a butterfly. However, people in Siberia’s Chita are unable to disassociate Christmas from the war in Ukraine, as is self-explanatory. The locals are participating in the festivities in ways that are most comfortable for them.

Ice soldier 2

Temperatures in Russia’s Siberia have dropped significantly and the winter chill has gripped the air. As the ice soldiers carry automatic rifles, it is not hard for anyone to know that it is an allusion to Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine. The ice-sculptures stand guard near the centerpiece of Chita’s New Year festivities. Next to the ice soldiers, there are towering decorated fir trees and an array of enormous ice-slides under construction.

Ice soldier 3

Even if for many people the winter holiday season is all about happiness, comfort, and pleasure, it is really more difficult for many others who are fighting in the Ukraine war. These ice sculptures were built in the Russian Siberian city of Chita, where patriotism is on full display. A Russian tricolour is being held by a stylized ice soldier outside the neighbourhood concert facility.

Ice soldier 4

Chita, which is around 3,000 kilometres east of Moscow, have thought that militarised ice sculptures would be a suitable ornament for this holiday season as the Russia-Ukraine war prolongs. The authorities in Chita see it as a means of promoting a nationalistic new year. However, on the festivities, there are differing opinions. One local Tatyana told BBC that since “we’re waging a war,” it was appropriate to have these ice warriors in the area.

Ludmila said that it is an unusual way of celebrating the New Year as normally one has Santa Claus, bunny rabbits or squirrels. The letter “Z”—the symbol of the Kremlin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine—shares centre stage on Lenin Square with the adorned fir tree. If you watch the news on Chita TV, you’ll see stories about local students who wrote holiday greetings to Russian soldiers in Ukraine rather than to Santa Claus. Another local Margarita said she gets worried that Russia will suffer from what is happening now. She said, “At the end of the day I would like there to be peace. I would like there to be no wars. We can do without those. But what will be will be.”

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