As is generally known, Stalin spent the years of his exile (1913-1916) first in the settlement of Kostino and was later taken to Kureyka at the Polar Circle. In this place convicts began with the construction of one of the biggest buildings on the territory of the Sovietunion late in the 1940s – the leader’s pantheon. Hundreds of larch-tree piles were used for this huge building, planned by an architect called Khorunzhiy. Later the building was protected by an additional sconic structure of marble and granite. After Stalin’s dath and upon the initiative of Khrushchev the pantheon was closed. It slowly decayed, weathered and was finally destroyed (almost completely) by a forest fire.
The regional authorities have already started on the reconstruction of the pantheon, intending to realize a program on the development of tourism within the region. The huge memorial complex which is supposed to include a gigantic statue of the leader, might be finished already in this summer. The initiators of the reconstruction of the pantheon are Mikhail Ponomarev and some few entrepreneurs from Turukhansk. A sum of about one million dollars will be needed to realize the entire reconstruction of the complex and provide the are awith the necessary infrastructure. The people in Krasnoyarsk have their doubts out of habit: do we need something like that? – The businessmen, however, have already come to an agreement regarding their plans to carry out the construction project. They cleared the whole territory and now intend to set to work in the summer.
While authorities and public are still arguing about the matter, we decided to ask some well-known residents of Krasnoarsk the following question:
”Do you consider the reconstruction of Stalin’s pantheon necessary?”
Yevgeniy Pashchenko, counsellor of the governor of Krasnoyarsk Territory:
- Yes, in order to restore the historic memory. Secondly, … well, 200 people presently live in Kureyka. They have no work. As soon as the pantheon has been completed, a rush o tourists is guaranteed. And it means that the people there will have a chance to work and earn money.
Aleksey Babiy, chairman of the Krasnoarsk “Memorial” Organization:
- In my opinion this idea is immoral from top to bottom. Moreover, it will certainly end up in a fiasco from the commercial point of view. I think that we are confronted with a grandiose attempt to compromise the entire region of Krasnoyarsk, above all Aleksander Khloponin.
Sergey Maslov, deputy of th Krasnoyarsk Municipal Council:
- The whole matter is long overdue. it is great that finally someone started to deal with it. It concerns our history, after all!
Liudmila Kozaryntseva, chairwoman of the regional Trade Union of Education and Science:
- I prefer to take a philosophic view of these things. The lessmonuments of that kind we have, the better. It is absolutely unnecessary to deal with such projects. It would be much more reasonable to plant new trees.
Leonid Berdnikov, deputy of the Krasnoyarsk Municipal Counsil:
- Yes, Stalin’s Pantheon has to be re-erected. It is part of our history, which is spreckled with black and white spots. In Germany they have been preserving the site of the former Buchenwald camp complex: the Germans conceived the meaning of such a terrible conentration camp – for it is part of their history. And now they have to draw lessons from it.
Krasnoyarsk Young Communist Leaguer, No. 17 (9117), 26.04.2006