Red Bull Pulls Costly Stunt in Kiev, Tarnishes Sacred World Heritage Site

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Serena Aburahma
Updated on Jun 27, 2022 · 3 min read
Red Bull is well known for sponsoring stunts that go viral. While the
company is often applauded for the events they sponsor, sometimes things can go bad. Really bad. Such is the case with a recent stunt in Ukraine's capital, Kiev.
The stunt involved race cars in front of an iconic landmark in the capital city. You don’t have to have a degree in physics to know that
racing cars can be extremely dangerous
, especially if you’re not monitoring the race.
Yikes doesn’t begin to cover the damages done to the Saint-Sophia Cathedral.

Red Bull's permission request denied

The people of Ukraine were planning on celebrating their independence on August 24th. As the date celebrates Ukraine declaring independence from the Soviet Union, this was the 30th anniversary of their independence. An important day for all Ukrainians no doubt.
Red Bull decided they wanted to join in on the celebration by performing one of their iconic stunts. Specifically, they wanted to have drifting race cars in the square of the Saint-Sophia Cathedral. The Cathedral is as beautiful as it is historic.
Its foundations were laid in the 11th century, and it was intended to rival the splendor of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. The church has such importance to Ukraine and the Orthodox church that it is recognized as a World Heritage Site.
The deputy mayor of Kiev, Konstiantyn Usov, was a bit uneasy about such a stunt being performed in front of this cherished cathedral. As such, Red Bull's application was denied. However, the denial didn't stop Red Bull.

Can Red Bull’s wings fly above the law?

Red Bull went ahead with the stunt, as reported by
. Two race cars drifted around the public square in front of the Saint Sophia Cathedral. As this is a public square designated for pedestrians, this was very dangerous given that the square wasn't closed off.
Endangering the public wasn’t the only concern, drifting in any condition tends to leave a lot of rubber on the pavement. The traditional Kiev yellow bricks that were laid to complement the cathedral are now stained with tire rubber.

The irony of it all

Red Bull's stunt was originally intended to celebrate Ukrainian patriotism. Instead, the company has become a target of public outrage.
Red Bull has since removed all social media postings of the stunt. The company has apologized and sent out cleanup crews, though the marks left behind can't be cleaned away easily and may require the bricks to be replaced.
The two race cars have been impounded, and there is an ongoing police investigation.

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