ST.PETERSBURG, August 1 /TASS/. Vandals have desecrated a memorial plaque to Carl Gustaf Mannerheim, a Finnish statesman and military leader, in the center of St. Petersburg on Monday just two days after it had been cleaned from paint from the previous vandal attack.
According to TASS reports, someone poured red paint over the plaque again on Monday. Police, including an expert, are collecting the paint samples at the scene.
On June 16 this year, the plaque was installed on the walls of the St. Petersburg Military Engineering-Technical University (Nikolayevsky) situated in the former barracks of the Cavalier-Guard Regiment where Marshal Mannerheim served from 1891 to 1897. Vandals poured red paint over the plaque several days later. On August 29, it became known that the plaque had been cleaned and the polyethylene that covered it had been removed.
The public reaction to the unveiling of the plaque to Marshal Mannerheim, who was a general in the Imperial Russian Army, has been controversial. The idea has been a source of debate in the city since the 1990s. Its advocates remember Mannerheim’s participation in the Russian-Japanese war of 1904-1905; the WWI and the Asian expedition. The opponents have one chief counter argument: Marshal Mannerheim was the commander-in-chief of the Finnish army during WWII that was involved in the siege of Leningrad. He also had direct contacts with Adolf Hitler who was a guest at the celebrations of Mannerheim’s 75th anniversary on June 4, 1942.