Julie van Loon, BA

RMA student in Modern History

Title research: The meaning of a Russian cultural site in Italy before and after the invasion of Ukraine in 2022: the San Nicola statue in Bari

Working at KNIR: 29 March - 03 May 2024

Email address: j.c.van.loon@student.rug.nl

University: University of Groningen

In 2003, Putin has gifted a statue of San Nicola to the city of Bari. The San Nicola statue has become a contested site since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. There have been protests at the site and there has even been a petition about its survival. The contestation makes for an interesting case study to position within larger trends like Russian and Italian cultural diplomacy and Putin’s use of the Orthodox faith as soft power.