RUSSIA

Steve Jobs’ Russian Memorial Is Up for Auction

For 5 million rubles, you can own a piece of Russian homophobic history

Dec 01, 2014 at 11:05 AM ET

A statue erected in St. Petersburg as a tribute to Steve Jobs, then dismantled because of his homosexual successor, is being auctioned off in Russia. The Russian Holdings Company erected and subsequently dismantled the giant iPhone in response to current Apple CEO Tim Cook’s announcement that he is gay. Now the Russian Holdings Company appears to be trying to mend its image in the eyes of the Russian public. The 6-foot-tall slab is being auctioned on the company’s Russian website with a starting price of 5 million rubles (around $95,000). Proceeds from the auction will fund grants for young Russian IT developers.

The owners clearly don’t want the statue to be reerected in Russia, however. The terms of purchase require that the buyer must export the statue outside of Russia.

The dismantling of the statue drew the attention of international press and was seen as the latest expression of homophobia under the auspices of Russia’s anti-gay legislation. The move also struck a nerve with the Russian social network and tech giant VKontakte. When the statue was dismantled, VK attempted to purchase it, but received no response to the offer. The public relations secretary at VK revealed on his personal profile that Russia’s largest social network objected to conduct that tarnishes the memory of the “greatest reformer of the 21st century.”

Since it has emerged that the statue may be shipped out of the country, VK has reportedly said it will consider building another statue of its own to install in St. Petersburg.