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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Blast Blows Hole in Lenin Statue

APA police officer passing the Lenin statue Wednesday in St. Petersburg.
A towering bronze statue of Vladimir Lenin was badly damaged Wednesday when a bomb exploded near the St. Petersburg train station where he gave a speech upon returning from exile in April 1917, months before the Bolshevik Revolution.

Nobody was injured in the explosion on the square near Finlandsky Station, which occurred at about 4:30 a.m., police spokesman Vyacheslav Stepchenko said.

He said the bomb had the power of about 400 grams of dynamite.

The 10-meter statue, erected on Nov. 7, 1926, is one of the first examples of monumental Soviet architecture and escaped damage during the 900-day siege of Leningrad by Nazi Germany during World War II.

The statue will be dismantled Wednesday night and sent away for restoration, which is expected to cost 6 million to 8 million rubles ($17,300 to $23,500), St. Petersburg City Hall said a statement.

The Communist Party denounced the explosion as "a politically charged act of vandalism," RIA-Novosti reported.

State Duma Deputy Valery Rashkin, a Communist, said the blast might be an attempt to punish his party for its critical stance of the government during the financial crisis. "I am not ruling out that this was a kind of provocation for our criticism of authorities, an attempt to distract attention from the present-day conditions," he told RIA-Novosti.

(MT, AP, Bloomberg)