Monument to the Victims of Political Repression

Monument in Smolny & Vosstaniya

This gruesome piece of sculpture by Russian artist Mikhail Shemyakin was unveiled in 1995, shortly after the end of the Soviet Union, and during a time of relative lustration. The scultpure is centred on two sphinxes, both of which look, from one side, like beautiful creatures. However, view them from the other side (facing the infamous Kresty Prison across the water) and it's clear the beauty has been corrupted beyond recognition and half the face is a mere skull.

Lines of writing from many of the Soviet system's victims are engraved on the monument's granite base. It's a sad and deeply moving place.