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An Ivan the Terrible Statue in Russia Was ‘Stolen’ an Hour After It Went Up

The government was behind it.

Ivan The Terrible’s reign as Tsar of All the Russias” may have lasted decades, but a recently unveiled statue of the ruler in the Russian town of Alexandrov only lasted an hour before it was stolen.

According to the BBC, the statue, sculpted by artist Vasili Selivanov was placed on its pedestal in preparation for an official unveiling. But when Selivanov returned from his lunch break, the bronze figure had simply disappeared. No small heist when you consider that they needed a crane to put it in place to begin with.

While the artist was understandably baffled by the theft, it turned out that there was no ragtag team of Russian criminals, each with their own rare specialty, behind the disappearance. Instead, it was local authorities who had absconded with the figure. They claimed that the artist had not obtained the proper documentation to install the statue, and that the site had not been properly prepared for the unveiling.

The government is holding on to the statue until an approved ceremony can inaugurate it in June. In the meantime, an empty plinth remains.