LVMH Faces Backlash for Red Square Exhibit Eclipsing Lenin Tomb

Louis Vuitton trunk in Red Square | Source: AFP

MOSCOW, Russia — A lawmaker from President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party is seeking to remove an LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA exhibit in the middle of Red Square that’s bigger than Lenin’s tomb.

Alexander Sidyakin filed a complaint with the antitrust watchdog asking it to determine if the French luxury goods maker violated advertising laws by building a giant pavilion on the historic site in the shape of a wooden chest adorned in its trademark pattern and logo, according to his website.

The exhibit, which commemorates the 120th anniversary of the adjacent GUM mall where Louis Vuitton has its flagship Russian store, is 30 meters (32 yards) long and 9 meters tall, according to the Paris-based company. The mausoleum where Bolshevik leader Lenin’s mummified body is on display nearby is 24 meters long and 12 meters tall.

The installation is of “unreasonably gigantic size” and violates the architectural feel of the entire complex, Sidyakin said in his complaint. It obscures views of St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin towers and may inconvenience Muscovites and tourists alike, Sidyakin said, noting that such advertising isn’t allowed at a Unesco World Heritage site.

The exhibit is designed to celebrate Louis Vuitton’s long history of supplying Russian customers and the chest itself is a giant replica of one ordered by Prince Vladimir Orlov in the early 20th century, the company said in a statement today, declining to comment on Sidyakin’s complaint.

Marina Saranskaya, a spokeswoman for Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, declined to comment on Sidyakin’s petition.

By Ilya Khrennikov; Editors: Brad Cook, Paul Abelsky, Kenneth Wong