The disputed sculpture

The disputed sculpture

Zurab Tsereteli created a gigantic monument, dedicated to the Conference of Yalta an ist three heads of state and members of the Anti-Hitler Coalition. According to the architects conception, the three leaders Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill were supposed to be immortalized in Moscow on Poklonnaya Gora Memorial Hill. However, the monument is presently being kept in a museum in Volgograd, the town, which bore Stalins name in earlier times. Till nowadays some citizens of Volgograd still plead for the renaming of their town into Stalingrad again to the great generalissimos honour. And in Krasnoyarsk they are arguing about whether or not to raise Stalins bronze bust in their town.

To be or not to be is this the question? In our town the conflict about the erection of a Stalin bust broke out late in April. It turned out the Communists had started a scandalous initiative. With outmost overhaste they had even prepared the pedestal for the leaders monument to be raised on. At first, the municipal authorities approved of this initiative; later, however, after some careful consideration, they went back on their decision. The concrete pedestal, which had already been laid for the planned sculpture of the leader in Gvardeysk Park, was now removed on the quiet in the darkness of night. In order not to hurt the feelings of the victims of the Stalinist repressions, the municipal authorities were willing to compromise they made the proposal to erect the Stalin bust in a different place inside the Pantheon of Glory, right beside the bust of Marshal Zhukov. Thus, the flock of sheep was complete, and the wolves were well-fed (both sides were happy and contened; translators note).

It was not granted to the solid statue about 1x1 meter in size to get up to the doors of the Pantheon. After the first attempt to raise the statue of the bronze Kova inside the building, the head of the town made use of his veto power.

Only two months later, in June, the Communists were able to present the bust to the people. However, the statue was not standing in front of the KPRF towns committee for long. One hour after its presentation, members of the militia had the leader taken away down to the basement for safekeeping. The official version of this action says that the building occupied by the towns committee, as well as the adjoining territories, are under the administrative supervision of the Museum of Local Lore, and that the Communists have merely taken the rooms on lease. It is prohibited by law to make any alterations in the architectural view of this territory on ones own initiative, even less to raise any kind of busts or monuments.

One of the opponents of the Stalin bust was Governor Alexander Khloponin. After the last unsuccessful attempt, the Communists held a number of meetings during which they urged the governor to give the reasons for his objection to erect the statue in writing, the more since, according to their own words, they had already collected about ten-thousand signatures of Krasnoyarsk citizens, who supported the raising of the bust to the honour of the leader of all times and people.

The initiative of the Krasnoyarsk Communists did not only find the support of the local Zheleznogorsk veterans organizations, but also of the deputees of the Communist Party and the Liberal Democrates. The events there developed in the same way as did the Krasnoyarsk scenario. The veterans wanted to see the Stalin bust to be erected in one of the town parks, but a commission decided that the leader should be exposed inside the municipal Museum and Exhibition Center. It is very well possible that the people in Zheleznogorsk are now going to ask the Krasnoyarsk Communists to put the sculpture at their disposal.

Yelena Burasova
TRK Channel 7, 18.09.05 17:31:39