Author Topic: Peter the Great - a red herring.  (Read 2665 times)

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Offline Rezia

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on: February 1, 2011, 18:04
PETER THE GREAT – A RED HERRING (from The Moscow Times, October 2010)
     Many want the statue gone, but experts say there are bigger issues at stake in post-Luzhkov Moscow.
     Just like in the Byzantine Empire – where old icons were often removed when a new emperor came to power – various “icons” that exemplified Yury Luzhkov’s rule over Moscow may now be history.
     The first “icon” to be taken away is likely to be the 98-metre tall monument to Peter the Great by sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, installed at the confluence of the Moskva River and Obvodnoy Kanal in 1997. Many believe that it was the friendship between the sculptor and the ex-mayor that allowed Tsereteli to decorate the city with so many of his works.
     This week, acting mayor Vladimir Resin told a City Hall meeting that the transfer of the monument to another site should be considered, Interfax reported. The relocation would cost as much as the construction of two new kindergartens, according to Resin, but the acting mayor stressed that it is important to “learn from other people’s mistakes” – though he did not elaborate on what he meant by that.
     As soon as the monument was installed, Moscow’s art and architectural communities vehemently criticized it, saying that Tsereteli’s work had absolutely no artistic value and was a blight on the city’s skyline.
     There were also rumours that the original monument was actually created to celebrate the anniversary of Columbus’s voyage to America, but no one was interested in buying it. The statue was then modified to look like Peter the Great and installed in Moscow – a city that Peter himself was never overly fond of.
     Vadim Tyulpanov, speaker of St.Petersburg’s legislative assembly, confirmed the Columbus rumours this week, also suggesting that the monument should never be moved to St.Petersburg – an idea that has been tossed around. Tyulpanov said that he took part in the transportation of the monument to the United States back in 1991, but the authorities of New Orleans, where the ship carrying the statue arrived, declined to accept it, RIA Novosti reported. “Tsereteli just replaced the head,” Tyulpanov said, adding that the monument should be taken to a scrap metal yard, which would help to recover some costs of its removal.
     Authorities in some cities, including Arkhangelsk and Petrozavodsk, say they are ready to accept the monument, while Moscovites’ opinions about its ultimate fate differ.
     “It’s certainly ugly,” said Grigory, in his late twenties, while walking across the river from the statue on Wednesday afternoon. “But I couldn’t care less whether it’s there or not. If I lived here on the embankment and had to see it every day, I might think different. But if I could afford to live here, I probably wouldn’t care about such things as the Peter statue.”
     Olga, a Muscovite in her early twenties, said she was glad to hear that the statue would be removed. “I hate it so much,” she said. “I can’t wait to see it taken away.”
     Predictably, Tsereteli himself slammed the idea of removing the monument. “That would be shameful,” he told RIA Novosti. In an interview with the Vesti-Moslva TV station, Tsereteli pointed out that he actually stopped communicating with Luzhkov five years ago.
     There has been speculation that some of Tsereteli’s other sculptures in Moscow, such as the Victory Monument on Poklonnaya Gora and a sculptural ensemble on Tsvetnoi Bulvar, also might not survive.
     Experts, however, say that there are more important issues than Tsereteli’s works to consider in Moscow today.
     “We move or rename too many things,” Alexander Skokan, head of the Ostozhenka Architectural Bureau, told The Moscow News. “It is time to stop and turn our energy to something more constructive.”
     “Certainly, if the Peter monument disappears, it would improve Moscow’s architectural look,” Natalya Samover, the coordinator of the Arkhnadzor preservationist movement, told The Moscow News. “But that isn’t a top priority.”
     According to Samover, it is vital to stop several projects that began under Luzhkov, such as the reconstruction of Detsky Mir – a legendary Soviet department store, the current plans for which threaten to destroy the store’s unique interior – and new construction on Khitrovskaya Ploshchad.
     “This is a challenge for the city’s new authorities,” Samover said, adding that all applicable laws are in place and City Hall must observe them. “If the law had been observed, the Peter statue wouldn’t be there today – and we wouldn’t be discussing what should be done about it,” she concluded.
"Сон налягає. Кладе м'якеньку лапу на очі і на лице і шепче до вуха: спи..." (Коцюбинський)
"Ахаль çеç-им шурă юрĕ çав каç ÿкрĕ çĕр çине?" (чăваш юрри)
"Гэта не без гэтага" (з аднаго беларускага рамана)
"ნახევარი პური, ნახევარი ხარჩო"
"If you want to win the fight, say "I believe!" " (Eric)


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