In the wake of Apple CEO Tim Cook announcing that he was gay last week, Russia has very publicly separated with Apple by tearing down a giant interactive iPhone memorial to Steve Jobs which sat in St Petersburg.
The six-foot tall memorial, which featured moments from Jobs’ life and quotations from his speeches, was torn down by ZEFS, the very company that sponsored its creation in 2013, according to BFM.ru.
ZEFS chairman Maxim Dolgopov said the memorial was also dismantled as gesture against both Cook’s announcement and “aggressive” NSA spying according to published reports.
This kind of easy destruction of a monument likely came as little shock to those who follow Russian history or who took note of the pre-Sochi Olympic clashes over the increasingly intolerant politics of the Russian Federation against the LGBT community.
In June 2013, before Sochi, the Russian duma in Moscow passed a new law banning the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors.
On the opening day of the Olympics (Feb. 7, 2013), police arrested at least 14 gay rights activists in St. Petersburg and Moscow, according to news reports.
“Nearly three-quarters of Russians believe that homosexually is morally unacceptable, more than disapprove of other hot-button issues such as extramarital affairs, gambling and abortion,” reported LiveScience.com.
Tearing down a statue may be part of the anti-gay Russian attitude, but it's also not entirely surprising considering that it took place a city that is famous for dramatic, power-player breakups.
St. Petersburg is the Victor Victoria of Russian name changes. It was first known as St. Petersburg, then Petrograd, Leningrad, and back around to St. Petersburg.
St. Petersburg was founded in 1703 by the czar Peter the Great. In 1914, the name was considered too Germanic sounding and was changed to Petrograd. After the death of Vladimir Lenin in 1924, the Soviet Union changed the city's name to Leningrad. Leningrad became St. Petersburg again 67 years later when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
Therefore, another way to view the destruction of this paean to Apple's cofounder is that it's placing Tim Cook and Steve Jobs among the ranks of Ivan the Terrible, the Romanovs, Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin and the city itself for being uncoupled.