Posted 23 июня 2023,, 06:15

Published 23 июня 2023,, 06:15

Modified 23 июня 2023,, 10:21

Updated 23 июня 2023,, 10:21

«In the custody of a developer»: where demolished monuments disappear in Moscow

«In the custody of a developer»: where demolished monuments disappear in Moscow

23 июня 2023, 06:15
Ирина Мишина
While everyone was remembering and celebrating the Victory in the Great Patriotic War, the factory building was completely demolished in Moscow on Presnensky Val, whose work ensured that very victory. At the same time, the fate of monuments to the dead from the territory of this and other factories was also in question.


Where do old monuments disappear to in Moscow?

The electromechanical plant «Memory of the 1905 Revolution» was one of the flagships of military equipment during the war. As they would say now — the leader of the defense industry, and his unique position at the Moscow — Smolenskaya — Tovarnaya railway station, where military echelons were formed, allowed tanks to be sent literally from the workshop to the front. Also during the war, ammunition was manufactured at this plant, military equipment was repaired for the front and victory…

But apart from the memory of the war, this building was simply beautiful. It was a kind of symbol of the Presnensky district.

Now, instead of the building that served as the decoration of the Presnensky Shaft for decades, which was a witness and in many ways a participant in three revolutions and the Great Victory, only a pile of broken bricks remained, as after an enemy bombing. People received such a gift for the May 9 holiday from the Forma development company, the developer of the former plant. But that's not all. The monument to the worker disappeared from the territory of the plant, next to which there were boards with the names of factory workers who died on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War. And this, unfortunately, is not an isolated case.

«Before that, the monument to those who died in the Second World War disappeared from the territory of the former factory „Wrestler“ at the address Skladochnaya str., 6, built up by a peak. Another monument to those who died in the Great Patriotic War disappeared from the territory of the Paint Factory on 2nd Zvenigorodskaya Street. The monument to those who died in the war disappeared from the territory of the former Metrostroy plant, from Tagilskaya Street. No one knows what became of them. And there are hundreds of such stories in Moscow! Monuments related to the war are disappearing at the will of developers in an unknown direction. However, as for the monument to the worker from the territory of the Presnensky plant, a note appeared in the press that it would allegedly be restored somewhere in the Tverskoy district. Nobody knows what will happen to the stele and the memorial plaque on which the names of the factory workers who died in the war were stamped,» Igor Shikhov, the coordinator of the Arkhnadzor movement, told NI.

Contrary to the Criminal Code?

How did it happen that a building of historical value was demolished overnight like that? Why was it allowed by the city authorities?

«The fact is that under the USSR, monuments were often erected on the territory of enterprises by the decision of the labor collective, without entering them into the city register and without registering them. Therefore, they turned out to be easy to demolish afterwards. Especially now, at the time of the wild development of Moscow. The building of the plant „Memory of the 1905 Revolution“ is old, but it was necessary to make historical inquiries, conduct an examination before demolition, check the status of the building, and only after that allow demolition or redevelopment. It is not clear why the developer bypassed all this?» — says the editor-in-chief of the magazine «Moscow heritage» Philip Smirnov.

As NI found out, no historical examination was carried out in relation to the plant at all, although part of the buildings of the demolished plant «In Memory of the 1905 Revolution» has the status of an identified cultural heritage object.

«The memory associated with this plant is above the status of a cultural heritage object, for that matter. During the war, the factory on Presne was a strategically important object, without which Victory would have been impossible. As for the fate of the monuments that were demolished together with the plant, I would like to remind developers about Article 243 of the Criminal Code, which establishes criminal liability for evading the transfer to the state of objects of cultural value discovered during such works, » Igor Shikhov, the coordinator of the Archnadzor, told NI.

Indeed, paragraph 2 of Article 243 of the Criminal Code provides for evasion from providing the state with objects of cultural significance found during earthworks for a group of persons by prior agreement with a fine of up to 800 thousand rubles, or deprivation of the right to hold certain positions for up to five years, or imprisonment for up to six years with a fine of up to two hundred thousand rubles or in the amount of salary. Why was no one punished in this case?

Will a monument to the dead be erected on the shopping alley?

We contacted the developers who demolished the plant «Memory of the 1905 Revolution» — the Forma group. The press service of the developer assured us that the monuments are intact.

«One memorial plaque is kept in The Museum of Moscow, the other one is in storage with the developer, » Forma spokeswoman Yana Maksimova explained to us. — The monument to workers, participants of the revolution of 1905, 1917 and the Great Patriotic War has been carefully preserved and is in safe custody in a building located on the construction site of the Republic quarter, at Presnensky Val 27, building 4. The entire three-dimensional composition of the monument has been completely preserved: a marble stele, a bronze statue of a worker and memorial marble plaques with the names of factory workers who took part in turning points in Russian history. To date, the developer is already in discussion with the city authorities about a new place to install the monument.»

All this is great, of course. But what kind of new place will it be for a monument and a stele with the names of the dead? After all, the memorial plaque and the sculpture of the worker were closely connected with the historical factory, which was turned into ruins by the will of the Moscow authorities and the developer. We asked what kind of space the developer equips on the site of the plant. «There will be a Center of gastronomic culture, a food community, a shopping alley of designers, a sports space, » the developer's press service explained to us. And how will the inherently tragic monument to those who died in the war, bearing a certain emotional burden, fit into all this?

And, by the way, about the careful attitude to monuments. This is how the monument and the stele with the memorial plaque looked during the demolition of the plant.

As for the monument to the workers of the plant «Borets» who died in the Great Patriotic War, on the site of which a new residential complex is being built by the PIK company, we received the following response from the company's press service: «The bust of the soldier and commemorative plaques, where the names of the deceased workers of the „Fighter“ are stamped, are currently in storage. In the future, they will be placed in a public space on the territory of the former plant.»

And again the question is: how will the monument to workers of a non-existent, alas, factory who gave their lives for the motherland fit into the space of the new residential complex? How will it and the plaque be perceived among playgrounds, shops and parking lots?

Of course, according to the law, there seems to be no digging in. The question is rather moral and ethical, and it is not so much to developers as to the city authorities. Why do the objects associated with the memory of significant historical events in Moscow, especially about the war, need to be demolished, dismantled, destroyed? Why was it necessary to extract profit from memory?

Any nation is its history, its roots, its victories and defeats, and if we reject and destroy all this, we risk eventually turning from a nation into a crowd.