The bronze statue of Chizhik-Pyzhik has returned to its place on the Fontanka River embankment in St. Petersburg on Wednesday.
After the last theft of the sculpture in July 2003, the experts offered to reconstruct not a bronze, but a granite or stone monument, Vladimir Timofeyev, the director of State Museum of City Sculpture, told RIA Novosti. However, it was decided to follow the original tradition and make a bronze statue. "Bronze is a more living material than stone and, moreover, Petersburg residents are already used to bronze Chizhik-Pyzhik," Timofeyev noted.
The first monument to Chizhik-Pyzhik, a tiny statue of a bronze bird on a miniature pedestal, was established in 1994. It was placed on the Fontanka River opposite the house number 6 where a privileged educational institution, the Imperial Law School, was founded on the initiative of Prince Peter of Oldenburg in 1835.
The students wore yellow and green uniform and were nicknamed Chizhik-Pyzhiks. A famous Russian song appeared at that time, "Chizhik-Pyzhik, where have you been? I drank vodka on the Fontanka River..." A notorious pub was situated in the semi-basement of merchant Nefedov's house not far from the school. Senior students secretly visited the pub in civilian clothes.
Famous Georgian sculptor, artist and script writer Rezo Gabriadze designed the statue. Petersburg residents believe that if you throw a coin to the bronze legs of the bird and it holds out on the miniature pedestal you will be certainly lucky.
Since 1994 the monument was stolen thrice, however, each time Chizhik-Pyzhik's statue was found or reconstructed and the bird again took its place on the Fontanka embankment.