It’s not possible to be in Plovdiv, or to have passed by, and not noticed the large stone figure rising on one of the hills


The Soviet Army Monument is a granite statue which is 10.5 meters high, rising to the top of the second tallest hill in Plovdiv. It is the most famous Soviet monument in Bulgaria, although similar were erected in many other places during the period from 1944 to 1989. It is located in close proximity to the Monument for the liberation of Plovdiv from Ottoman rule. It depicts an upright Soviet soldier holding a Spagin gun barrel with his barrel down. A five-pointed staris affixed to the pedestal, and an inscription below it reads "Glory to the Invincible Soviet Liberation Army." An interesting fact is that in other places, too, especially when the monument is a warrior himself, the monuments are called Alyosha, similar to the Plovdiv one.

It was built in 1954-1957 and was officially opened on 5 November 1957. The authors are the architects Boris Markov, Peter Tsvetkov, Nikolai Marangozov, the sculptors VasilRadoslavov, GeorgiKotsev, Ivan Topalov, Alexander Zankov and the stonemasons SashoSpasov, ValchoKadiyski, GrigorMihov. It is so emblematic of the hill that we often all call Bunardzhika Hill simply by the name Alyosha.

The prototype of the monument was Alexey IvanovichSkurlatov (1922 - 2013), a resident of the Altai Republic, a binder during the Second World War. In 1944, while Skurlatov was working on the reconstruction of the Sofia-Plovdiv hotline, a photograph was taken that was later used by sculptors to make the soldier's figure.

In 1966, the poet Konstantin Vanshenkin and the composer Edward Kolmanovski also wrote a song dedicated to the Plovdiv monument - Alyosha/Alesha. Until 1989, it was considered the unofficial anthem of our city.

Today, with its presence at one of the hills in the European Capital of Culture, there are often heated discussions about whether or not it should be removed. Opinions are literally at the two poles and many attempts have been made to destroy it.

However, this year Alyosha has become part of the new Plovdiv souvenir collection. The idea is of the team of Misirkov/Bogdanov, who participated in the project of Studio Set "Plovdiv for home - a new design of the Bulgarian souvenir". Colorful lollipops are now on sale in eight locations in the city. The cost of the pleasure of licking the monument to the Soviet soldier is exactly 4.40 BGN. The sugar souvenir is available in several colors, the red one being the most sought after. Part of the program of Plovdiv - European Capital of Culture was the innovative project "Being Alyosha", which seeks a different look at the monument of the Soviet army in Plovdiv through its demythologization. The illusion of "body swapping" is created by virtual reality and totally transforms our sense of the monument.