For about three years, a black mongrel named Malchik lived in the Mendeleyevskaya Station of the Moscow Metro. After a 22-year-old woman stabbed him to death, Moscow was outraged, and later erected a monument to the poor pooch.
Moscow, RussiaMalchik (“Little Boy” in Russian) was a stray who, for about three years, had made his home in the subway station. He was a friend to rail workers, commuters, and the owners of nearby flower and tobacco shops, who kept him well fed and in good shape.
But in December 2001, darkness descended upon Malchik in the form of Yuliana Romanova. The 22-year-old woman was walking through the subway with her Staffordshire terrier when she came across the stray as he slept. Romanova set her dog upon Malchik before joining the one-sided fight herself. She took a knife from her bag and stabbed Malchik six times.
The owner of a nearby stall tried to stop the attack, but it was too late. Malchik was dead by the time police and an ambulance arrived. The police did nothing, and the woman walked away from the scene.
But while no formal investigation initially took place, one investigative reporter took it upon herself to find out why Malchik was so brutally attacked. Irina Ozyornaya, of the popular newspaper Izvestiya, wrote a series of articles about the incident and managed to identify Romanova, a young fashion model, as the killer.
Ozyornaya managed to contact Romanova, who reportedly told her, “All this does not matter now. I can only say that I regret it. But in a week I am going to Spain for a job. I hope to forget all this. At least you will not bother me anymore.”
Upon further investigation, it emerged that Romanova had been diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of six, and had supposedly harmed or killed dogs that she or her family had previously owned.
As reports emerged of the brutal killing, Moscow became increasingly saddened and enraged by what had happened to poor Malchik. And after a year of campaigning, Romanova was brought to trial. She was found guilty and underwent one year of psychiatric treatment. What happened to her after that is unknown.
A tragedy and a monument to a homeless dog touch the hearts of millions.
To honor Malchik, and to serve as a reminder of the plight of the thousands of stray dogs in Moscow, plans were made to erect a monument to the slain street dog. Donations came pouring in from Russia and beyond, including contributions from famous Russian singers and movie stars, and a group of Russian artists and sculptors began work on the monument.
The bronze sculpture, named “Compassion,” was unveiled in February 2007, on the same spot upon which Malchik died. And to this day, rail workers, commuters and dog-loving pilgrims pat Malchik lovingly on the head, and lay flowers on his pedestal, as they pay their respects to him and other strays who spend their lives on the streets – and subways – of Moscow.
Know Before You Go
The Malchik Monument, officially named “Compassion,” is located inside the Mendeleyevskaya Station of the Moscow Metro. You’ll find the station on the Serpukhovsko-Timiryazevskaya Line, in the Tverskoy District of central Moscow.
Monument to a homeless dog in Moscow
I first wrote about Malchik in January 2006. He was one of an estimated 100,000 stray dogs that roam Moscow, abandoned by their owners because of economic hardships.
Demonstrating incredible intelligence, these dogs have learned how to use the public transit system to travel all over the city. They survive on the streets and in the subway stations, relying on the kindnesses of strangers for handouts. (Muscovites, and Russians in general, are very tolerant and have an innate sense of solidarity with the downtrodden and the down and out.)
One day a young fashion model who was later committed to an insane asylum stabbed him to death.
A group of influential people in Moscow wrote to the head of the Moscow Metro suggesting that a monument be erected in memory of the unfortunate dog. Residents of Moscow raised $15,000 for the statue of Malchik to be erected in a subway station, his favorite place in Moscow.
The statue was placed in 2007 year at the Mendeleievskay station is called “Sympathy.” The monument reminds residents of Moscow that homeless dogs, unprotected from human cruelty, call for humane treatment.
This essay is part of a series on cultural, scientific and esoteric matters.
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