This is a monument to the fallen Russian soldiers of World War 2. It is just out side of Cherkassy, in the Ukraine – which is actually no longer part of Mother Russia. She hold her arm out to stop aggressors and carries an eternal flame in remembrance of the dead. Well, at least she did. Remember all of the furor last winter about Russian natural gas exports to Europe? And how Russia turned them off until the Ukraine agreed to cough up the money they owed for leasing the Russian pipeline? Well, guess what was a casualty of all of that. The Cherkassy eternal flame.

At least, that was the case until a few months ago. A local telecom group was looking for a place to put a new cell tower, and they stumbled upon a golden opportunity with the Cherkassy monument. They would replace an actual flame with a digital flame.

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The fifteen foot tall cell tower is covered in LEDs that imitate the dancing of a real eternal flame. The cost for upkeep is paid entirely by the telecom company, who have made a point to tout the green-friendly nature of LED fire over gas fire.

Welcome to the future. Anything we can replace with something digital and plastic – we will.

(Oh and you’re fooling yourself if you don’t think some one wants to put a cell tower on the Statue of Liberty – they already lease out Mt Rushmore for it.)