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Dr. Sergey Zagraevsky







The following text was translated from the Russian original by the computer program

and has not yet been edited.

So it can be used only for general introduction.




First of all specify that we will focus on monuments in the narrowest sense of the word – monuments honoring someone's memory, and built in universal the public space (i.e. not on the cemeteries and in the streets and squares, in parks, etc.). It can be statues, memorials, mausoleums, plates, triumphant arch... Set of forms, there is a very wide – from the ancient Roman equestrian statues of emperors before and not realized project of a monument to victims of Stalinist repression, described in a poem by Andrei Voznesensky:


Not the pyramids of Egypt. Not the Pantheon in Rome.

See the flames pulsating above the city in sight.

Every let second lights new name.

30 million seconds in a year.


As you know, impossible to grasp, so we will not attempt to review the entire endlessly surround the history of the construction of "controversial" sites, and slightly less surround the history of their desecration and demolition. Remember only the most loud and controversial cases directly or indirectly related to Russia. In recent years it is a failed restoration of the monument to Felix Dzerzhinsky on Lubyanka square,restored and soon removed the statue of Josef Stalin in a subway station "Kursk", mounted and too soon to dismantle the monument to Stalin the samein Surgut, the mass demolition of monuments to Vladimir Lenin in Ukraine, the demolition of the monument Soviet soldiers in Tallinn, the installation of the eagle and of the monuments of Alexandrov Ivan Terrible, and the Ukraine – Nestor Makhno and Simon Petliura... you Can remember the more distant past – the destruction of many monuments to Soviet leaders (including among the already mentioned Dzerzhinsky) at the beginning of the 1990s to Stalin – in the early 1960s, members of the Romanov dynasty in the 1920s... Well, without all these examples clearly, the installation, demolition and restoration of the monuments was and still is relevant.

And we start with the demolition, because for him our position is very just monuments can not endure. If the monument was installed – so he inviolable regardless of who installed it, even if it turns out it was a bloody tyrant, miserable, incompetent or a secret enemy of his country. The key words here – "if it turns out". That is, it turns out now, and what I was thinking, when put? Then the person deserved the monument, and it is now clear that not deserves? And it is clear to whom? The same layer of society which was set, or some other – for example, the new government is looking at the world differently? Or all citizens – with one accord? And this consensus is so indisputable thatjustifies any attempts to destroy the memory of this person?

Questions here in any case will be more questions than answers, so all doubts here are to be interpreted in favor of the already established monument.

A monument after all belongs not only immortalised the person and our memories of her. It belongs to its era, and destroying it, we seek to destroy or distort and the memory of that era. And the loss of historical memory – not a sign of strength, and the weakness of the society. It was what it was, and nowhere on it does not go. And it is not necessary nowhere to hide, on the contrary – it is necessary "is" to remember that "it" is not repeated.

Besides the demolition of the monuments of a particular person creates the effect of "persecution" to this person (even long dead) that, in accordance with the laws of "public relations" are attracted to additional and often favorable attention of considerable part of society. Typical example: after the mass demolition of monuments to Stalin in the late 1950s years the late dictator was in the position of "victim", and such in Russia always spared. Perhaps it led still existing many "nostalgia" for Stalin, not Lenin, the monuments of which in ourtime are practically in all cities and villages of Russia and are perceived quite neutral.

In support our position can remember the article 44 of the Constitution Russian Federation: "Everyone is obliged to care of preservation historical and cultural heritage, and preserve monuments of history and culture", but you words poet Konstantin Balmont:


Hush, hush solicite with ancient idols clothing,

For too long you prayed, not forget last light.

Have debunked the great, as before, proud eyelids,

And adder prophetic songs was the poet and there is a poet.


The winner of the noble losers will be smooth,

Him arrogant only low with him one cruel savage.

Whether in the peal of abusive clicks snowshore, cold-blooded,

And then I'll tell you that you the sage and the king.


However, most only those who takes down monuments, do not think about such global things just vent anger on the symbols of the overthrown or reject the authorities. The same thing to do and those monuments defiled. And such actions always ugly and unworthy of a cultured people, and sometimes that of a criminal – for example, I remember a terrible incident in the town of Kolchugino, the Vladimir region, where 2008, a group of hooligan teenagers burned man... on the Eternal flame.

But let's assume that for one reason or another, the monument was demolished, and did not bullies and the power structure or the crowd of the insurgent people (my generation well remember newsreels from ropes, clinging round the neck, and with overthrowing the pedestal of the statue of Dzerzhinsky on Lubyanka, and many years later, Saddam's statue Hussein in Baghdad). Usually in such cases a few decades (and sometimes that and years) naturally is redefining done, and begin to sound the voice on the restoration of the deposed "old idols". This is the cyclical movementhistory, and there's nothing you can do, just need to figure out what to do with the monuments in those cycles where years of "totalitarianism" replaced by years "democracy," the years of "stagnation" – the years of "perestroika" and years of "stability" – the years of "revolutions".

Your opinion about that on any "cycles" to demolish the monuments we've already expressed and possible substantiated. Now Express your attitude towards recovery previously demolished monuments: this recovery should not occur on obviously the rights of the legitimate "restoration", but only as the installation of a new the monument, even if on a pedestal is not new, and the old statue.

The fact is, that the monument to this or that person – not the building and not the landscape, and if we restoring the old monument, so the government and society were again treat this person with a certain reverence and again wanted her image appeared in the public space. And approval of the initiators recovery that the attitude of the person had nothing to do with what is most conventional restoration of monumental works of art – no more than demagoguery. Because between demolition and restoration, as well as between the demolition andthe installation also takes historical era, and it is related to the person, changed during this era, the vast majority of cases and is the reason for sentences such "restoration." So it happened with Dzerzhinsky, so it is with Stalin, is, no doubt, sooner or later will happen (if not already happening) in Iraq with Saddam Hussein.

So we you can go to the most acute and painful issue of our conversation – the installation of new monuments.

The construction each monument there are proponents of pursuing certain social, political, ideological, and even personal goals. Nothing wrong with that, similarly implemented all social initiatives, but how do you know backed by the initiative of the monument at least conditional public consensus or not?

Every time you spend the erection of a monument to the referendum (at least local) is possible, but only in theory. In practice, this utopian due to the technical difficulties of carrying out the referendum and greater financial costs. Of course, you can combine the monuments of the election authorities, but so far necessary in this system, there, as everywhere, there are other more simple and perfectly democratic procedures for approval of installation of monuments urban councils and public commissions.

Of course, all of these tips and the Commission can influence and authority, and momentary public sentiment, and campaigns in the media. But the courts often influence, but not to replace them because of this popular vote? Besides the will of the citizens in the referendum and elections, there is no absolute objective, it is also influenced by the momentary public sentiment, and press, and speech "media persons", and criticism from the "marginals", who are always against everything.

If theres a circle issues that need to be addressed with the installation of each monument, they can be summarized in two main groups.

The first group of questions for "how to put" how the monument will look like, what it will be size, where it will be installed... These questions are in the competence architects and art historians, and here to give any advice possible only in each specific case, but in General terms we can only speak about the need for careful attitude to the historical urban environment and the sense of proportion. On this subject it would be possible to cite many positive and negative examples, but the topic of our conversation – not "how to erect monuments," and"to put or not to put" and let's more in detail talk about it.

Thus, the second group issues – "to put or not to put a monument"? In other words, do that or other person of the monument?

Until the twentieth century monuments were often put "on the staff" of the prominent statesmen (especially the rulers) and the victorious generals. Characteristically, in the end The nineteenth century, many wondered: "Did Pushkin deserve a monument in Moscow? He was only a titular counselor and cameras-Juncker!".

In the Soviet time the tradition of installing "regular" sites are not violated (remember obligation of installation of the busts at home Twice hero of the Soviet Union and Socialist Labor). "Across the state," established monuments and figures culture, for example, is not just famous writers, and those who "passed" in Soviet schools (as Nikolai Gogol, Leo Tolstoy, Vladimir Mayakovsky). From this tradition allowed minor deviations, but only in respect of those who committed (or have been, made) well-known an outstanding achievement –as Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, Oleg Koshevoy, the 28 Panfilov heroes or Pavlik. Of course, in our time "feat" hardly the last anyone would call such, but we have said that every monument belongs to its epoch, and what has been was.

With the fall Soviet power and the establishment in Russia of a civil society (though not quite Mature) perpetuating the memory of a particular historical figure was to be based on a much wider variety of criteria, among which the position plays not the primary role. For example, in Moscow without much disputes, was elevated to the monuments so different from each other (one might say, diametrically opposite) personalities, as Georgy Zhukov and Bulat Okudzhava, but to still no monument to the first President of Russia Boris Yeltsin. And the openingthe last monument in Yekaterinburg has caused mixed reactions the public, despite the fact that a politician for many years headed the this region. And about the disputes related to the monuments Generalissimo Stalin and Tsar Ivan the terrible, that is the rulers who are like "put on staff", we have already mentioned.

List and describe all current criteria for the installation of monuments for very long therefore, select the criterion which we consider to be the main.

The perpetuation of memory as such – in our information age is not important, since any a person famous enough to "deserve" a monument, so often mentioned in the media and on the Internet, forget about it at all desire will not work. The main criterion for the installation of the monument consider the following: will this installation to promote the consolidation of society, or Vice versa, push it to the split?

Imagine such dialogue: "we Must erect a monument to Stalin!" – "No, it was bloody a tyrant, a torturer of his own people!" "But he won the war!" – "Didn't win war, and led the country during the war, is quite another matter!" "But well guided, times we have won!" – "Poorly led, time was such a terrible sacrifice!" – "War without victims does not happen, the other leader, maybe even more people would!" – "History does not tolerate subjunctive mood!" And so on.

Clearly, what to expect a little bit of consensus regarding the role of Stalin in history we have no professional historians or politicians using it name to their advantage. But such disputes continually arise in the broad sectors of society, and of no consensus – neither "for" nor "against" – here to say it is not necessary.

And then this dialogue you can bring to the absurd: "If you put a monument to Stalin, why not to erect a monument and Beria?" – "Well, he was a sinister figure, and Schoolgirls know how did!" – "But after all, was the Creator of military and peaceful nuclear energy, as well as many other achievements of Soviet science and technology!" – "And how it blood!" – "Hardly more than Stalin, according to the title, he was alsoMarshal of the Soviet Union, so why not?"

And imagine such a conversation somewhere in Germany: "let's put a monument to Hitler!" – "How can you suggest such a thing, he brought his people to a terrible military disaster!" – "But he consolidated and crushed ready a Communist revolution!" – "And six million Jews?" – "Well, Yes, Jews it went wrong... But he began to blaze the highways, not to build if a monument to him at least as the organizer of road construction? On gorgeous pre-war highway Berlin-Munich stands a bronze statue of the bear, so let us instead put the Fuhrer!"

Well, where is the monument Hitler, there is a monument to Goebbels: "what, after all, was a brilliant promoter! We can say, one of the fathers of modern PR!" "Yes, he was a partner the crimes of Nazism, and even the killer of their children!" – "So this is all because been loyal campaigner! So a good example to follow!"

Jokes jokes, but in Western Ukraine without any jokes put monuments to Stepan Bandera (about forty!), and in Romania, too, without any jokes, – Dracula. More precisely, "made famous" by "dragon" the nickname of Prince Vlad III of the Basarab. Already five monuments, and then and more. And the argument there was – probably something like this: "Yes, it was cruel, even too, but against the Turkish invaders fought for the unity and independence the country defended! Couldn't really defend, but he tried!"

And if we are really remembered such a lover to impale as Dracula, remember and Ivan Terrible. The arguments for installing the monuments to the "extraordinary" to the king some are: "Yes, it was brutal and unbalanced, could not to win the Livonian war, killed his son, pushed the country to the time of Troubles, but took Kazan and Astrakhan! And what are the churches when it was built, one Pokrovsky Cathedral on the Moat!"

And after the Terrible, probably, it is necessary to wait for the monument to Malyuta Skuratov... Well, at least in the form of a bust on the homeland of the hero, which is still, unfortunately, unknown.

On paper one may model such dialogues, in the form of jokes, and most of fierce debate. And putting "controversial" monument to Joseph Stalin, Ivan the terrible or Nestor Makhno – can inevitably arise around it such disputes philosophically: argued, fought, and well. There are same and scandalous exhibitions, and controversial theatre performances, and scandalous movies, so let it be scandalous and monumental art...

But between monumental art and all other types of art there is a fundamental difference.It consists here in what: in the case of the controversial exhibition, theatrical productions or films unhappy to say: "I do Not like – do not go." And regarding the monuments erected into a universal the public space, it does not say. Past them Willy-nilly pass many thousands of citizens, millions see them on TV and in books, and if some unwitting viewers is a lot of disgruntled, it is dissatisfaction begins to spill on those who are such monuments sets. And that will inevitably lead to social destabilization.

Hence the special responsibility imposed on those who authorized to solve the issue, to put or not to put monuments. Hence our position: all doubts here should be interpreted not in favor of the installation, and not against it.

For example, I I am a longtime supporter of the installation in Moscow of the monument to Andrei Sakharov and Alexander Solzhenitsyn. And "state" – as a great scientist (Thrice hero of the Socialist Labor) and great writer (Nobel of the award). And without any "States" – as eminent public figures, contributed to the fall of the Soviet totalitarian dictatorship. But I perfectly understand how the most heated debate will cause in our time the appearance of such monuments, therefore, do not feel entitled to insist on it.

I can ask: who, then, to erect monuments? Who of historical figures, past the test of time, undoubtedly deserves this? Who could it be at least local symbol to strengthen the unity and stability? To get enough...

Well, maybe enough. If so, it is also symbolic. Means that society unhealthy and split, and especially do not rush to put a "mixed" sites.

We must purposefully work search true heroes. The famous slogan of the Soviet times – "the country needs know its heroes" – in our time has not lost relevance. The heroes of the country should be, and monuments they should be put, not on the "distribution list" totalitarian power, and unified and sincere impulse of millions. Personally, I I hope that sooner or later the Russians will understand that in the twentieth century the true heroes their countries were Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn, but not Lenin and Stalin, but if this is not happens – well, I'll take that as a given and hope that the newthe cycle of history "life will swing to the right at the same time change to the left". (Don't know if to clarify that this famous quote belongs to Joseph Brodsky).

In the meantime, if you need decorating the street, Plaza or Park something monumental (in art history and urban planning this is called "organize the space"), you can put neutral sculptures, as is common in many cities in the world. You can put the "fun" monuments – like already existing monuments ruble the iron, "Chizhik-Pyzhik"... to perpetuate the memory of distinguished service dogs... Yes, there are many different the most "apolitical" of monuments you can think of!

A "very important person" will have to wait. The use of the monument known the figures of the past as political and ideological tools, and even more than the desire that somewhere there was a monument to you personally, in historical perspective is a risky business, about than long ago warned Gavriil Derzhavin in his poem "My idol" (note the abundance of hard-hitting synonyms of the word "monument" – "the idol", "idol", "idiot"):


Without the glorious Affairs, thundering in the world

Nothing and the king in their idol...

Not saved from the death I of the Kingdom,

Kings on the throne is not erected,

Do not erase patience cunning

My wealth did not bring

The victim in the reinforcement of the throne,

And protect could not act.

Alas! Who do to this fool

In the world to take place

Bad Lisu monkey

Laughter kids to imagine

To see my descendants

Under a web in the dust

Slaves set foot on the wreckage

My, lying on the ground?

No! better to be oblivious of all,

Than abandoned and never despised.


By the way, who here exactly it would be possible to put monuments in Moscow and St. Petersburg, so it's great Russian poet Derzhavin.



S. V. Zagraevsky (C) 2016



 © Sergey Zagraevsky



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