Russian Tourist Arrested After Carving Initial On The Colosseum


I recently had the pleasure to visit the Colosseum in Rome, one of the truly most incredible sights for all of humanity. (The photographs are from that visit). An unnamed Russian tourist was arrested and fined roughly $25,000 over the weekend for carving a 10-inch letter “K” into the Colosseum. Frankly, while this is a large fine, it is not enough in my view. The intentional damage to such a priceless structure warrants jail time in addition to the fine and, above all, the world should know the name of the man who would do such a despicable act.

We have discussed stupid acts, including by Americans, where art has been damaged by accident. However like the graffiti by the Chinese tourist, on the Luxor temple, this was an intentional act of thoughtless destruction. This was also not a stupid teenager but a 42 year old man.

IMG_1036IMG_1040The Russian used a rock to carve out the letter. A tourist called over the police and the tourist was charged with causing “aggravated damage to one of Italy’s most iconic symbols.” He was give a four-month suspended prison sentence and fined 20,000 euros– a little over $24,800. It is the suspended sentence that was the mistake.

This is the fifth case reported case of vandalism to the Colosseum this year and future felons should have their vacations extended in a Roman jail.

What is a more positive note is that over 6 million people visit the Colosseum each year but only a handful of truly disgraceful human beings damage the structure.

It is almost enough to make one long for Roman emperor Domitian and a bit of old-fashioned Roman justice on the sands of the Colosseum.


16 thoughts on “Russian Tourist Arrested After Carving Initial On The Colosseum”

  1. When Patriots owner Robert Kraft let Putin try on one of his super bowl rings, Putin put it on and walked away with it. Must be something in their culture.

  2. Where did he carve his initial? If he carved it into one of the sections built recently out of brick, then who cares? What is a crime that deserves our attention is the horrid garbage they serve in Rome and have the audacity to refer to as pizza.

  3. Imagine St. Peter’s toe not being touched by millions. That sight renews me. I don’t touch anymore, once is good. But I watch others and the difference in their faces. Kids told to, period. I hope they come back someday and want to. I forget where I read this, but everybody took a little something and then it was gone. I think St. Peter has many millennia left. I have two small rocks. One from Oregon near a friend’s house on a cliff looking out to the Pacific. And one red one from Sedona. Sedona is surrounded by vortexes (as machu pichu). I feel good there. My little rocks remind me of friends gone and a place that touched me. Too many abuses of the Colosseum and it will be gone. When they destroyed the giant Buddhas in Afghanistan I was angry. When the oldest Christian church known was destroyed in Mosul I wanted anything that would pain those men to happen. And when I saw a little girl lying next to her severed head I wanted a gun.

  4. When President Reagan said to Gorbachev: “Tear down that Wall”, I think this guy missed Reagan’s point. Reagan meant the Berlin Wall, not the Colosseum.

    Well, at least now, he knows the difference.

  5. That’s horrid. It’s not like they can just fill it in and paint over it.

    He should have jail time! Any idiot should know not to deface archeological treasures like the Colosseum.

    Speaking of which, when I was there, the inside arena was surprisingly small compared to what I’d seen on the movies. Galloping a bunch of chariots seemed like it would be a tight fit.

  6. It takes money to maintain the structure(s) as well as house and feed a criminal. It makes more sense to fine the perp(s), perhaps $25k is enough or more and use the money to catch more perps and maintain the structure. Russians and Chinese that are making their way to these places are probably rich enough to afford, maybe, $50k.

    Putting them in jail costs money, but perhaps community service cleaning up toxic waste sites in Calabria for a few months and a $50k fine will impact future graffiti artists.

    I lived in France neat the Italian border on the coast for six years and experienced some of the tens of millions of tourists that tromp through each year. Stupid is not limited to any one nationality. Stupid is usually recognized by a tourist going up to a local and blurting something out in their home language, oblivious that they are not at home: English, Italian, German, Japanese, it doesn’t matter, stupid is stupid and needs a shock sometimes, so $50k and community service cleaning up the toxic waste dumps that the Italians created through their own corruption, or perhaps working to restore decaying structures, or perhaps,?????. Now, that would get a lot of press.

  7. And everytime I refer to this sort of justice as corporal punishment someone replies that the guy was an officer not an enlisted man.

  8. A year in jail would cost money. Cut off the hand that did the deed. Then staple the hand high on the same wall above his K graffiti with a note on a plaque on the ground. Let the hand rot. Send the Russian back to Russia. He is clueless and should be handless. Why would anyone want him in jail when the hand job would be the most efficient and more just?

  9. I agree jail time is important, there are too many wealthy idiots in t he world anymore and easy money cheapens the rule of law. I object to your statement that he was 42 and therefor should be considered ‘wiser’….age is not the measure of brilliance and there are an awful lot of 12 year olds who would be affronted by your statement…..(and many who get away w/much harm because of that expectation). But the law is supposed to serve. To serve justice and keep order……and most importantly to PROTECT.What is served by outing someone to a pack of wolves other than to have him torn apart? That is akin to ‘let’s bomb the crap out of them and steal all of their resources’ because there is fear and not knowledge driving the car. It serves no justice, it debases the field of law, it creates division and discord, most importantly it marks a person as a target to the true simpletons in the world and places them at risk of violence. It is cruel. There is no place for cruelty in the field of law. To be in that field and act cruelly amplifies the impulse and serves to teach that that is a real way to justice. It is not.

    p.s. I am an artist and share your outrage w/the act….

  10. This priceless structure is in bad repair because of the poor care that the Roman citizen have taken of it. They have stripped the metal holding the masonry together, the have stolen the stones themselves. I am sure they have left their initials all over the place. You cannot tell me the structure is graffiti free. The Romans were famous for their graffiti, why are they getting all uptight now? They were a lot more civilized when they were headed by an emperor.

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