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Sevela, Vladimir

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Respekt - Czech Republic | 05/06/2007

An aquarium for Stalin

Czech skateboarders may lose their most prized skateboarding venue. In the Prague district of Letná they still meet up "under Stalin", because until 1962 a huge statue of Stalin stood here. Today only the pedestal and a large concrete surface remain. Now the Australian investor Underwater World Oceanarium plans to build a huge seawater aquarium at the site. "First, an illegal nightclub that had sprung up under the monument of the former Soviet leader in the early 1990s was closed down. Now the skate boarders, in-line hockey players, freestyle bikers and all those who have installed themselves one level above are threatened with expulsion... This is nothing new. On the one hand entrepreneurs are trying to squeeze money out of every empty site in city centres, and on the other the 'unorganised' residents want a place where they can hang out without having to pay for it. All city dwellers are familiar with this conflict of interests."

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