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Schwarzenegger revealed as fan of Soviet leaders' busts

A Russian bronze caster has exposed Arnold Schwarzenegger’s soft spot for sculptures of Soviet and Russian leaders.

St. Petersburg-based artist Aleksandr Chernoshchekov said he got the chance to work for the Californian governor.

"Schwarzenegger is very popular in Russia. Many kids don’t know the US President’s name, but they for sure know Schwarzenegger. I felt the same, and when I realized there was an opportunity to make a connection with Schwarzenegger via a friend, I seized the opportunity," he told Russia Today.

Chernoshchekov explained he has been sending the Austrian-born politician busts and sculptures of former Soviet leaders for years - hand delivered by Russian bodybuilding teams.

Vladimir Dubinin, President of the Russian Bodybuilding Federation, revealed: "He liked [revolution leader] Lenin's bust very much, and later in a letter he wrote that this bust always gives him a charge of energy, so he keeps it in his office rather than in the museum."

Dubinin said Schwarzenegger was also sent busts of Stalin, Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin.

Chernoshchekov told Russia Today it has been a pleasure to work for the "Terminator" star, adding that it has been tough for him to get Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's features right.

Chernoshchekov explained he was inspired by Schwarzenegger as a young artist, adding he regretted never having met him.

Meanwhile preparations for a museum dedicated to the life of the man nicknamed the "Styrian Oak" are continuing.

Peter Urdl, a personal friend of Schwarzenegger and former Social Democratic (SPÖ) mayor of his hometown Thal near Graz, said earlier this year that the museum set at Schwarzenegger’s birth house will open in June or July.

Urdl said he was told by the governor that he planned to be present when the museum opens its doors.

Schwarzenegger – whose second and final term as governor of California ends this year – visited Thal last September during a surprise stop in Austria en route back to the United States from a visit of the US troops in Iraq.

The 62-year-old revealed in a recent interview he has still not given up on becoming US president despite being banned from candidacy by the American constitution since he was not born in the United States.

Schwarzenegger also said he could imagine making movies again or being involved in a global environment-protection organisation after his term as governor ends in November 2010.

- - -

The Austrian Times recommends Marc Hujer's brilliant Schwarzenegger biography published in German by Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt in September 2009.

Arnold Schwarzenegger - Die Biographie
by Marc Hujer
published by Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt
(www.randomhouse.de)
hardcover, 320 pages
ISBN: 978-3421044051

Austrian Times


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