Plans to install the 'Eye of Sauron,' atop a skyscraper in Moscow have been canceled after complaints from church leaders.
On Thursday, the latest "Hobbit" movie is scheduled to premiere in Russia — and it was scheduled to be accompanied by a very special light installation. A company called Svechenie created an 'Eye of Sauron,' which they planned to install on top of a skyscraper in the IQ-quarter of Moscow's International Business Center, according to Russian broadcaster RT and the Russian edition of Hollywood Reporter.
The company announced in a press release that the project will not go ahead. "The project has no religious or political overtone. We want to bring a sincere apology for the situation," it said in a press release.
Earlier, the creators were quoted by RT as saying that the installation of a real-life Eye of the Dark Lord of Mordor will “let millions of fans visit Middle-earth” — a reference to a fictional place described by author J.R.R. Tolkien in the novel "Lord of the Rings." In the novel, the gigantic, flaming and all-seeing eye is a projection of Sauron, Tolkien's uber-villain.
— Denis (@anglichanin_lj) December 8, 2014
In its Russian version, Sauron's eye is designed as a 3-D effect with a 3.3-foot-tall sphere, Polina Murova, a spokeswoman for the property company Hals-Development, which manages the skyscraper, told Agence France-Presse. She said the company was not aiming for promoting the movie but had been contacted by the light-installation creators at Svechenie. To Hals-Development, the idea might have seemed a creative way to promote its skyscraper, which it described as "Moscow-City’s safest tower" on its Web site, where it also states that the tower is equipped with a "heat recuperation system."
On Twitter, however, some users have started to draw comparisons between Sauron and President Vladimir Putin.
— Nikolai Holmov (@OdessaBlogger) December 9, 2014
"Rumor grew of a shadow in the East" Reality mirrors fiction Real-life 'Eye of Sauron' will open up over Moscow — http://t.co/gKcE1rKLEg
— Thomas Bjällstrand (@Bjallstrand) December 9, 2014
— raging.me (@raging545) December 9, 2014
Plans to install the light had already evoke criticism and opposition when it was first announced.
On Tuesday, the Russian Orthodox Church urged the organizers to suspend their plans. "This is a demonic symbol," Vsevolod Chaplin, a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church, told the radio station Govorit Moskva.
Chaplin added: "Such a symbol of the triumph of evil is rising up over the city, becoming practically the highest object in the city. Is that good or bad? I’m afraid it’s more likely bad. Just don’t be surprised later if something goes wrong with the city."
Elsewhere, Twitter users have shown less fear.
Stockholm! We have to keep up with Moscow! Can someone please add an Eye of Sauron onto our tallest landmark please? pic.twitter.com/8R9WlkBnPt
— Loukas Christodoulou (@Loukas_RS) December 9, 2014
As AFP reports, the Russian version of Sauron's Eye might not be as all-seeing as its fantastical inspiration. Weather reports predict snow for most of the week — a worldly challenge that might put a sudden end to the "triumph of evil."
This post has been updated.