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Monument to enema treatments opened in Russian spa town

Sunday, June 22, 2008

MOSCOW -- A monument to the enema, a procedure many people would rather not think about, has been unveiled at a spa in the southern Russian city of Zheleznovodsk.

The bronze syringe bulb, which weighs 800 pounds and is held by three bronze angels, was unveiled at the Mashuk-Akva Term spa, the spa's director said Thursday.

"There is no kitsch or obscenity, it is a successful work of art," Alexander Kharchenko said. "An enema is almost a symbol of our region."

The Caucasus Mountains region is known for dozens of spas where enemas with water from mineral springs are routinely administered to treat various complaints.

Kharchenko, 50, said the monument cost $42,000 and was installed in a square in front of his spa Wednesday. A banner declaring: "Let's beat constipation and sloppiness with enemas" -- an allusion to a line from "The Twelve Chairs," a famous Soviet film comedy -- was posted on one of the spa's walls.

Sculptor Svetlana Avakina said she designed the 5-foot-high monument with "irony and humor" and modeled the angels on those in works by Italian Renaissance painter Alessandro Botticelli.

"This device is eternal, it will never change," she said. "We could promote this brand, turn it into a franchise with souvenirs and awards for medical doctors."

Dozens of monuments dedicated to characters from tall tales and popular jokes have been erected in post-Soviet Russia.


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