Is the Kremlin the right place for Prince Vladimir?

by www.rbth.com
A monument to the Baptizer of Rus may threaten the citadel’s UNESCO statusControversy continues to plague a monument to Prince Vladimir, the man who introduced Christianity to Russia in 988, which is due to be unveiled on Nov. 4 on Moscow’s Borovitskaya Square, near the Kremlin.

The history of the 26-meter monument to Vladimir (who is also known as Vladimir the Baptist, St. Vladimir and Vladimir the Red Sun) was accompanied with protests and heated debate from the very outset.

The idea to install the monument was initiated by the Russian Military-Historical Society (RVIO), which is headed by Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky.

Early last year, the Society held a competition for the concept of the future monument: The design for a 24-meter (80-foot) monument proposed by Russian sculptor Salavat Shcherbakov and architect Vasily Danilov won the secret ballot vote.

Workers seen by a monument to Prince Vladimir in Moscow / Source: Vladimir Smirnov / TASS

Arguments against

Opponents to the monument stressed that Vladimir had no relation to Moscow, because the first known mention of the city dates back to 1147, that is, a century after the prince’s death.

In addition, historians emphasize the brutality of Vladimir, who, after capturing the town of Polotsk in 980, raped the daughter of Polotsk prince Rogneda and then forcibly took her as his wife. He also singlehandedly killed her father and two brothers.

Critics also highlight the political aspect of the monument to Vladimir, which is associated with Russian President Vladimir Putin. For example, prominent anti-Kremlin journalist Oleg Kashin notes that the monument to Vladimir can also be seen as a tribute to his influential namesake.

In addition, Shcherbakov's sculpture in its original version was to surpass the height of a 20-meter monument to Vladimir in Kiev. In the context of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, this was also seen by observers as a political gesture.

Wandering monument

The opening of the monument was supposed to coincide with the millennium of the death of Prince Vladimir on Nov. 4, 2015. The RVIO management proposed to place it next to Moscow State University in the Sparrow Hills nature reserve.

However, the geological condition of the place did not permit the installation of a sculpture weighing 300 tons on the banks of the Moskva River out of fear of landslides. Dissatisfied with the RVIO's initiative, Moscow residents and conservationists created a petition against the installation of the monument, which collected more than 80,500 signatures.

From Stalin to Prince Vladimir: Russia's controversial monuments

Eventually, the city authorities offered residents a number of alternative sites in the city center –Moskvoretskaya Embankment and the Lubyanskaya and Borovitskaya squares. During the vote on the government-run Active Citizen website, locals supported the latter option.

The Moscow City Duma's Commission on Monumental Art approved the location. However, this decision did not suit conservationists: The site at the intersection of Mokhovaya and Znamenka streets, where the statue of Vladimir is to be installed, is part of the Moscow Kremlin's protected zone, and any new construction there is forbidden.

Earlier this year, UNESCO warned the Russian authorities that in case of non-consultation regarding the historical landscape and non-compliance with the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, the Moscow Kremlin will lose its status as a World Heritage site. As a result, the authors of the monument agreed to reduce its size: Now the height of the prince's figure will be 12.2 meters, so the height of the monument including the cross will not exceed 16.8 meters.

Another UNESCO requirement was the comprehensive beautification of Borovitskaya Square with the involvement of international participants. In April of this year, the authorities announced the winner of the contest for the concept of reconstruction of the square.

The winning design, by the Russian architectural bureau AI-Architects, involves creating on Borovitskaya Square a stepped slope, symbolizing the waters of the Dnieper River, where Prince Vladimir baptized Kiev.

"An interesting idea has been proposed: We see a drop which, as if falling into the water, goes around in circles, creating an association with the ritual of baptism," said Sergei Kuznetsov, Moscow's chief architect, explaining the concept.

UNESCO looks the other way

However, Rustam Rakhmatullin, coordinator of the Arkhnadzor public movement, does not believe that either decision can be called a compromise.

"UNESCO considers the design of the monument to Vladimir solely in terms of its impact on the Kremlin," the conservationist said in a conversation with RBTH.

UNESCO treasures in and around Moscow

"However, it poses a far greater threat to the adjoining monument of Russian classicism, the Pashkov House, which is not included in the World Heritage list. The statue will block the historic view of the building from the side of the Kremlin – the fact that the size of the sculpture has been reduced and that it has been shifted along the axis of the central colonnade of the Pashkov House will not help. This monument just should not be here."

Arkhnadzor assessed the probability that the Kremlin will be deprived of the UNESCO World Heritage status as minimal.

"All UNESCO prescriptions to the Moscow authorities were oral – in reality, they have not been recorded anywhere and do not oblige those who will be installing the monument on Borovitskaya Square to do anything," Rakhmatullin added. "Consequently, there are no formal reasons for sanctions by UNESCO."

Russia must send a report on the results of the installation of the monument to Prince Vladimir to the World Heritage Center of UNESCO by Dec. 1. 


Read Full Article On www.rbth.com
Latest
Former Secretary of Labor and class warrior Robert Reich crushed conservative pundit Jeffrey Lord during Thursday’s CNN panel discussion about the Paris Climate Agreement. Senior economic adviso
Virgin Galactic successfully conducted its fifth unpowered glide flight, adding weight to their spacecraft to test maneuverability for rocket-powered flights. The company says it is rea
Femi Makinde, Osogbo The International Institute for Tropical Agriculture has inaugurated a 205.5 hectares of  research farm in Ago Owu Farm Settlement in Ayedaade Local Government Area of Osun State.
Ramon Oladimeji The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), has urged the Federal High Court in Lagos to dismiss a suit seeking a declaration that the Fe
Fidelis Soriwei, Abuja The Nigeria Governors Forum has raised the alarm over importation of substandard rice into the country. The Head of Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Abulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, sai
Mudiaga Affe, Calabar The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said that Nigeria cannot afford to disintegrate, adding that the diversity of the country is the reason why other countries have re
Sterling Bank Plc and LEAP Africa have collaborated to enhance the growth of the Small and Medium-scale Enterprises, and by extension, the economy. The Chief Marketing Officer, Sterling Bank, Mr. Henr
Samuel Awoyinfa, Abeokuta A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Tunde Lemo, has said the delay in the signing of the 2017 budget into law is not too good for the economy, especially
Oyetunji Abioye The naira appreciated to 374 per United States dollar on Thursday, up from 382/dollar on Wednesday. The local unit closed at 382/dollar from Monday to Wednesday. This came just as curr
Chux Ohai  Fast-rising Yoruba movie actress, Folashade Bewaji, managed to escape from two strange men on a commercial motorcycle, who tried to abduct her on Wednesday night in Ibadan, capital of Oyo S
The bombshell reporting on the Donald Trump organization and potential Russian collusion was advanced yet again with a powerful new report highlighting contradicting reasons for secret meetings. A tea
Since I established WAP over 40 years ago, it has always been my desire to contribute my quota to the socio-economic development of Nigeria through what I do best – entertainment. I really appreciate
Chux Ohai Celebrated musical couple, Tunde and Wunmi Obe, aka TWO, in a rare gesture, have chosen to celebrate renowned reggae musicians around the world, including the legendary Bob Marley, Lucky Dub
Oluwafemi Oyefeso oluwafemi.oyefeso@yahoo.com In recent times, the number of touch points through which a customer can contact an organisation has geometrically increased. Apart from an organisation’s
German authorities came to a school and took a teenage pupil away right from her classes to deport her to Nepal later the same day, provoking an angry reaction from her classmates and t
Sometimes, during our career journey, we may feel ‘stuck’ in a particular role or wonder why others seem to move forward at a faster clip while we remain in place. The truth is that opportunities don’
Kamarudeen Ogundele, Ado Ekiti The Immediate past Governor of Ekiti State and Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has challenged the competence of the Judicial Commission of Enq
Olaide Oyelude, Katsina The commission of inquiry set up by the Katsina State Government to probe former governor Ibrahim Shema’s administration resumed sitting on Thursday amid drama as the lawyers r
Ted Odogwu, Kano The Emir of Kano, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, said on Thursday, in Kano, that he would never be discouraged as an advocate of change in the society. He made the pledge when the new Country
Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has given reasons why President Muhammadu Buhari shunned Nigerian hospitals and decided to travel to the United Kingdom t
Godwin Isenyo, Kaduna The Transmission Company of Nigeria has announced plans to build three power transmission sub-stations in Kaduna State. The building of the sub-stations will be completed in 18 t
’Femi Asu A major Nigerian independent oil and gas exploration and production firm, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, said its gas revenues increased by 37 per cent last year, even as its oil
Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja The invasion of army worm and its resultant destruction of crops in farmlands across the country is a major national catastrophe, the Federal Government has said. Army worm is
Ifeanyi Onuba, Abuja The six-week closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja has resulted into the decline in the number of air travellers by 983,705 or 28.2 per cent, according to fig
Nike Popoola The Lagos State Government has reiterated its commitment to increasing the employability skills of graduates by creating opportunities for them to become empowered and employed. The Commi
Ogbonnaya Ikokwu, Umuahia The member representing Aba South state constituency in the Abia State House of Assembly, Mr. Clinton Ebere, has dumped the All Progressive Grand Alliance for the Peoples Dem
Ade Adesomoju, Abuja A Federal High Court in Abuja ruled on Thursday that two alleged masterminds of the bombing which occurred on October 1, 2010 in Abuja – Charles Okah and Obi Nwabueze – had a case
Simon Utebor, Yenagoa The peace accord brokered by the Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson and an Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, to resolve the leadership crisis in the Ijaw Youth Council has suff
Alexander Okere, Benin The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said killer herdsmen, reportedly raping and killing women and farmers in the state,are terrorists, who fled from the military off
A new centre of creativity and innovation has been unveiled in Nigeria. The United States Ambassador to Nigeria,  Mr. W. Stuart Symington, hosted what is described as Nigeria’s first state-of-the art
Femi Makinde, Osogbo Many actors and lecturers of dramatic Arts were recently at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, to honour one of their own, popularly known as Uncle Laide Adewale, who died 1
Sesan Olufowobi Governor Akinwunmi  Ambode of Lagos State  has reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to ongoing reforms aimed at upgrading  the state’s infrastructure  to meet its megacity status
Sesan Olufowobi The Lagos State Government says disregard for safety rules and guidelines will continue to receive stiff punishment. Speaking at the opening of a two-day safety training for stakeholde
Stanley Opara The confidence of investors in the country’s capital market is gradually returning as can be seen by the positive numbers in recent weeks, the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers has sai

Recent News

Tropical Storm Beatriz moves ashore in southern Mexico

Tropical Storm Beatriz soaked parts of southern Mexico with heavy rains after it moved ashore in an area of touristy beach communities Thursday night and began weakening.
Read Full Story

Review: ‘Frantz’ is a dark look at the grim wake of war

A mysterious and troubled Frenchman travels to Germany post-World War I to visit a German soldier’s grave             
Read Full Story

The Latest: Fiji's leader disappointed by Trump decision

Fiji's prime minister, who will chair an annual climate summit in Germany in November, says he's deeply disappointed by President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord
Read Full Story

Cubans rock to once-censored Beatles at Havana tribute concert

HAVANA (Reuters) - Communist-run Cuba, which once frowned upon the Beatles as a decadent Western influence, on Thursday held an open-air covers concert in a Havana park to celebrating 50 years since t
Read Full Story

Yankees light up Blue Jays, Estrada for big win

CC Sabathia pitched effectively into the seventh inning and Gary Sanchez hit two home runs as the New York Yankees roughed up Marco Estrada early in
Read Full Story

Root helps England romp to victory

At the World Cup in 2015, minnows Bangladesh pulled off one of cricket’s biggest upsets by sending home favoured England in the first round. England finally got ample revenge for that embarrassin
Read Full Story

Popular Finance

Monstrous tunnel-boring machine makes history at the lowest point in L.A.'s transit system

Below Walt Disney Concert Hall, down the block from the line forming outside the Broad Museum, sits the deepest point in Los Angeles’ subway system. When it’s completed, the Bunker Hill station wi
Read Full Story

3 Northern California officers guilty of murder in beating death of inmate

A jury Thursday found three Northern California correctional officers guilty of second-degree murder in the 2015 fatal beating of a mentally ill inmate. After a two-month trial, Santa Clara County
Read Full Story

Angelina Jolie buys the Cecil B. DeMille estate in Los Feliz

Actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie has closed sale on the Cecil B. DeMille estate, a Los Feliz mansion once owned by the early filmmaker, according to real estate sources not authorized to co
Read Full Story

Nick Kyrgios blows his cool and then lead in four-set loss to Kevin Anderson at French Open

Nick Kyrgios’ talent is undeniable. So is his temperament. Docked a point for smashing rackets, the 18th-seeded Kyrgios went from a set and a break up in the French Open’s second round to a swift
Read Full Story

MLB notes: Mariners' Nelson Cruz and Jean Segura leave game because of injuries

Seattle designated hitter Nelson Cruz and shortstop Jean Segura left Thursday's game against Colorado because of injuries. Segura injured his right ankle sliding into second base in the fourth in
Read Full Story

Dearden's furniture stores to close after 108 years in Los Angeles area

Furniture retailer Dearden’s, one of Southern California’s oldest businesses, said Thursday that it will close its eight stores and wind down operations over the coming weeks. Founded in 1909, the
Read Full Story

Virgin Galactic test flight of space plane moves the company a bit closer to commercial operations

In a graceful test flight Thursday, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo dropped from its carrier aircraft and arced through the air. After a few minutes of flight, the glinting space plane emptied a 2,
Read Full Story

Essential Education: L.A.'s youth homelessness surges

Betsy DeVos Charter Schools Higher Education K-12 LAUSD May 24, 2017, 3:35 a.m. 7 things you need to know about how Trump's budget would affect schools in California and nationwide Joy Resmovits (
Read Full Story

LIGO detects third black-hole collision — and it's not quite like the others

Scientists with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, or LIGO, have detected the signal from a cataclysmic collision between two black holes that lie 3 billion light-years away
Read Full Story