Steel Soldiers

13 Aug 2007

It's way out of town. Even when trying to talk Lyn into accompanying me to the statue park, I'm forced to refer to it as "a bit of a mission".

But it's too cold for the water park and we don't have the energy for Sziget, so we take a train, a hike, a city bus, and a third-party bus to the middle of nowhere. It's cheaper than the brochure says - this never happens - and nearly empty.

But inside it's a treat. They've got a massive soldier, gun hanging around his neck to free his hands for the flag. He has the evil eye but radiates unyielding simple strength. I love Soviet art: it's uncompromising.

Another, inspired by a poster that's also on display, has a huge soldier caught mid-stride. Standing in front of it, you know what it's like to be attacked by a Stone Giant.

It's not the steel soldiers that move me most, though. It's a simple life-size statue of a submissive Hungarian worker shaking hands with a taller, stern Soviet soldier - a reminder of the debt owed and the payment due.

They must have greeted the Soviets like this, those who lost so many men freeing someone else's country from the Nazis when they'd barely saved their own. I wonder how long it took the Hungarians to realise that the new boss was the same as the old boss?

I'm glad they keep those statues. But I bet they're glad they keep them here.