Dr. Sergey Zagraevsky
MONUMENTS: TO ERECT OR NOT TO ERECT, TO DEMOLISH OR NOT TO DEMOLISH?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
With the fall Soviet power and the establishment
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
And imagine such a conversation somewhere in
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
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,
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
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
S. V. Zagraevsky (C) 2016
© Sergey Zagraevsky