Kyrgyzstan Ski Resort Unveils 8-Foot Vladimir Putin Statue: 'I Didn't Know How to Express My Gratitude'

A ski resort in Kyrgyzstan has installed a large statue of Vladimir Putin after receiving $1.2 million from a Russian-sponsored development fund.

Standing around 8 feet tall, the bronze version of the Russian president is wearing a suit, looking out over the resort's surrounding snow-capped mountain landscape around 18.6 miles outside the capital Bishkek, Reuters reports.

The statue was erected as a symbol of gratitude after the Russian-Kyrgyz Development Fund offered a $1.2 million loan to resort director Akbar Roziev, and it has a "thankful inscription" next to it, according to local news website Roziev said he could not find a Kyrgyz bank to give him a loan with terms he was happy with.

The Russian-Kyrgyz Development Fund was established in 2014 to foster economic relations between the two countries. It bills itself as the most significant mechanism for the integration of Kyrgyzstan into the Eurasian Union, an initiative that has been promoted by Putin since 2011 in a bid to remove trade and other relational barriers between Russia and its former Soviet neighbors.

"I didn't know how to express my gratitude. Thanks to his loan, we now have a (much better) center," said Roziev, who said he viewed Putin as a role model, according to Reuters.

The Putin statue stands with the resort's other famous monuments of Soviet figures, including former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin and Kyrgyz author Chingiz Aitmatov, reports.

The latest monument joins several other Putin statues that have been erected in recent years, including a 12-foot bronze statue that was reported to have mysteriously disappeared shortly before its unveiling in the Kurgan region of Russia in 2018.

Back in 2017, a life-sized bronze statue of the Russian president, standing around 6 feet tall, was installed at a ski resort in the Urals region of Chelyabinsk in the western part of central Russia.

In 2016, plans for a statue of Putin portrayed as a sea captain in Crimea were unveiled. The monument was proposed to portray Putin's role in steering the metaphorical wheel of the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed from Ukraine by Russia in 2014.

"This will be the image of Putin but symbolically as a Russian captain, behind the wheel of the enormous ship of the great country that is Russia," Sergey Shuvaynikov, local councillor for the Russian nationalist LDPR party, said at the time.

Vladimir Putin bust 2009
Alexander Chernoschekov works on a plasticine model of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's bust in St. Petersburg on October 18, 2009. Getty Images