Every monument turns into a scandal: why there are so many controversies around new monuments in Moscow

Every monument turns into a scandal: why there are so many controversies around new monuments in Moscow
Every monument turns into a scandal: why there are so many controversies around new monuments in Moscow
30 November 2021, 16:13City
On Kremenchugskaya Street in Moscow, among residential buildings, it is planned to erect a monument to the ex-head of the Ministry of Emergencies Yevgeny Zinichev.

This idea of the Russian Military Historical Society caused an ambiguous reaction among local residents. The installation of monuments has recently become a topic no less acute than the introduction of QR-codes.

Irina Mishina

The scandal associated with the installation of a monument to Joseph Kobzon for 52 million budget rubles in Oruzheyny Lane had hardly died down when new "memorial passions" began to boil in Moscow. This time, in connection with the initiative of the Russian Military Historical Society, to erect on Kremenchug Street, in the immediate vicinity of residential buildings, a monument to the ex-head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations Yevgeny Zinichev, who died in September this year.

Voting in the district group on Facebook regarding the installation of this monument revealed a paradox: half of the respondents did not even know who Yevgeny Zinichev was. The overwhelming majority (about 200 people) spoke out against such a monument in this place. And only 22 people found his installation appropriate.

From a discussion on social networks.

Maria Bainova: “In my opinion, the decision to erect a monument is too hasty. Why doesn't the Emergencies Ministry make a commemorative plaque on its territory for now?"

Igor Ruzheinikov: “It's funny. We'll have to write on the tablet who it is, the circumstances of the death (fragmentarily and exquisitely), why they established it".

Andrey Larichev: “Yes. The scale of the historical personality is seen with the passage of time ... Something was quickly forgotten by the lessons of Soviet monumentalism".

Российское военно-историческое общество считает вопрос с местом установки памятника Е.Зиничеву решенным и направляет соответствующее письмо в Мосгордуму с просьбой поддержать. Финансирование проекта РВИО гарантирует.

The logic of local residents is clear: there are already 5 monuments to rescuers and firefighters on Kremenchug Boulevard, in the square of Dmitry Mikhailik (as Wikipedia assures, this is a well-known figure of Russian civil defense). The transformation of this place into a memorial complex somehow does not fit with the fact that residential buildings are located a few meters away. In general, the locals do not want to live in the cemetery. In addition, the installation of another bronze monument in honor of the Ministry of Emergency Situations is accompanied by the cutting down of green spaces, which categorically does not suit people. The following argument is also made: there are 5 schools in the immediate vicinity of Kremenchug Boulevard. In three of them, the reception is conducted not at the place of residence, but from all over Moscow, thus many travel to the place of study by public transport or they are brought up by their parents. But due to permanent mass events at the monuments of the Ministry of Emergency Situations on Kremenchug Boulevard, traffic is either blocked, or a multi-kilometer traffic jam forms, which is why classes in schools are disrupted or postponed. And of course, the locals do not want to live to the rumble of the loudspeakers that accompany the events at the monuments.

Мы в свою очередь попросили комиссию по культуре и средствам массовой информации Мосгордумы разобраться в вопросе с установкой памятника, учитывая мнение местных жителей.

Although, according to the results of voting in the Fili-Davydkovo district group, the absolute majority of local residents are against the installation of a monument to Yevgeny Zinichev in this place, the Council of Municipal Deputies voted 6 out of 10 for this initiative of the Russian Military Historical Society. As you guessed correctly, all six turned out to be members of the EP. The opinion of local residents of the United Russia deputies was not interested.

“The chairman of the Council of Municipal Deputies convened an extraordinary meeting, which, according to him, could not be delayed. Usually we are notified a week before the meeting so that all working deputies adjust their plans. And then they warned me a day or two. As a result, only 6 United Russia members gathered and voted for the installation of a monument to Yevgeny Zinichev on Kremenchug Boulevard. Everything was approved in 15 minutes without a preliminary meeting of the commission, without agreeing on the draft decision. Theoretically, it is possible to raise the issue of violation of the regulations”, - says the municipal deputy Andrei Larichev.

Some time ago, Andrei Larichev, as part of an initiative group, had to defend the space on the observation deck at Moscow State University, where it was originally planned to install a giant sculpture of Prince Vladimir.

“They wanted to cut down trees at Moscow State University and erect a giant monument. The university community was outraged, there were rallies, there was even a public movement "Defend Vorobyovy Gory". As a result, the site of the monument was changed, reducing the monument by 3 times. Now on Kremenchug Boulevard they are planning the same thing according to the same plan: cutting down trees, installing a pedestal. Everything is like in a cemetery. Of course, the locals are against it. There are already 5 monuments to the workers of the Ministry of Emergency Situations. Evgeny Zinichev, as you know, was posthumously awarded the title of Hero of Russia. Why not recall the Soviet tradition, when a bronze bust was erected to the heroes of the Soviet Union in their homeland? " , - the municipal deputy considers.

The story with Yevgeny Zinichev turned out to be even more confusing than with Prince Vladimir. According to the decree of the President of Russia, it has recently been allowed to erect bronze busts of Heroes of Russia and Heroes of Labor, not only in their small homeland, but also at their place of residence. The corresponding document was published on the official Internet portal of legal information. So why is it so urgent to erect a monument to Yevgeny Zinichev, who became the Hero of Russia posthumously, in the center of Moscow, among residential buildings? After all, he comes from St. Petersburg, more precisely, from Leningrad, and while working in Moscow, he lived in a completely different place. True, there is one "but". One of the central offices of the Ministry of Emergencies is located near Kremenchug Boulevard, at 1 Vatutin Street.

Из подъезжающих к охраняемым "офисам" МЧС машин выгружают корзины с продуктами и спиртным. Фото: "НИ".
Сотрудник МЧС запрещает снимать , как из машин выгружают продукты и просит удалить сделанные фото. Фото: "НИ".

“On the territory of the Institute of World Civilizations, behind its fence, there is a monument to Zhirinovsky. This does not cause any questions or negativity in anyone, because the monument to the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia is outside the fence of the institute, where he, it seems, gave lectures. Now Marshal Vasilevsky is planning to erect a monument in the courtyard of the Ministry of Defense. By placing the monument in the urban space, the department thus seems to say: "We are the authorities, and you are nobody." And this causes negative among the people", - said historian and writer Natalya Samover.

The indignation of local residents is also caused by the fact that the Ministry of Emergency Situations has essentially turned the territory of Davydkovo into its fiefdom. In addition to monuments, this ministry filled the territory of Stalin's former dacha near Davydkovskaya Street with its numerous offices and cottages, where the protected area of the Setun River Valley nature reserve is supposedly located. That is, theoretically, nothing can be built there. But for some reason the Ministry of Emergency Situations can.

Traditionally, this territory was available to residents of the region - both under Stalin and under the Soviet secretaries general. The Ministry of Emergency Situations appropriated this area with a forest stream, pines and a picturesque river floodplain, cutting down the centuries-old trees that survived all the secretaries general. The Ministry of Emergency Situations went further than the generalissimo: even the local church turned out to be in the official affiliation of this department! And locals have long been paying attention to the fact that cars often drive up to this territory protected by the Ministry of Emergency Situations, from which they unload provisions in baskets, which are referred to the fenced and guarded territory of the Ministry of Emergencies. Once I tried to film this ceremony, but was captured by an officer in the uniform of the Ministry of Emergencies, who demanded that the incriminating photos be removed. But there is still something left.

Why not erect a monument to Yevgeny Zinichev behind this fence, where there are people who knew him and who do not need to explain who he is and how he became famous? By the way, let us remind you that before becoming Minister of Emergencies, Evgeny Zinichev, judging by his official biography, in 2006-2015 worked in the personal protection of the Security Service of the President of the Russian Federation, accompanying Vladimir Putin on his trips. The death of Yevgeny Zinichev took place on the Putoran plateau near the Kitabo-Oron waterfall. While the Emergencies Ministry's exercises were going on, Evgeny Zinichev and his friend were filming the waterfall. According to the official version, he died trying to save the operator who slipped.

“The deceased ex-head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations died a dignified death, he tried to save another person. But in this way hundreds of people die. However, no one is in a hurry to perpetuate their memory. In order to be immortalized in bronze, perhaps something more significant is needed. Our memorial policy is divorced from people's requests and is not clear to the majority. This is how the devaluation of monuments takes place. It is because of this devaluation at the monuments to heroes that idiots commit blasphemous actions without understanding the symbolic value of the object. Most of the monuments in Russia do not evoke any feelings at all in people. They become a kind of park sculptures”, - Natalya Samover believes.

The tragicomic nature of the situation with the monument to Yevgeny Zinichev also lies in the fact that they are going to install it opposite Vatutin Street, which bears the name of the legendary general, hero of the Great Patriotic War, whose memory in the region has not been immortalized in any way. The Ministry of Emergencies, which has built its large modern office on the street named after the hero of the Patriotic War, did not bother to remember the hero. But General of the Army Nikolai Fedorovich Vatutin, commander of the First Ukrainian Front, died in the war as a hero's death. On February 29, 1944, together with his escort, he went to the location of the 60th Army to check the progress of preparations for the next operation. As Georgy Zhukov recalled, when entering one of the villages, “the cars came under fire from the UPA . NF Vatutin, jumping out of the car, together with the officers entered into a firefight, during which he was wounded . Unfortunately, this wound of the combat general turned out to be fatal; he died in the hospital.

There is no monument to the legendary commissar of the Great Patriotic War Vasily Klochkov, after whom the nearby street is named. But the feat of political instructor Klochkov was included in the history textbooks. As you know, in November 1941, at the Dubosekovo junction of the Volokolamsk District of the Moscow Region, at the head of a group of tank destroyers, he participated in repelling numerous enemy attacks. Then 18 enemy tanks were destroyed. Seeing that a new column of German vehicles was moving ahead, Vasily Klochkov shouted: "Moscow is behind, we have nowhere to retreat!" And when the second batch of tanks approached, Klochkov jumped out of the trench with grenades, the soldiers followed him ... By the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, Vasily Klochkov was posthumously awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. But the Hero of the Soviet Union was never awarded a monument on the street named after him or on Kremenchug Boulevard.

Why is there such inequality of heroes? Why did people who gave their lives for their homeland in battles find themselves out of sight of the Military Historical Society, which so zealously perpetuates the memory of people close to the current leadership of the country?

“For the 15th year, without the participation of the Military Historical Society, we have been trying to erect a monument to Marshal Vasilevsky, one of the military leaders who ensured our country victory in the Great Patriotic War. Initially, the monument was planned at the Ministry of Defense on the embankment. But in the end it was allowed to install it only in the courtyard of the ministry. It was forbidden to name the square after Marshal Vasilevsky. There are even more egregious situations. In house 56 on Novoslobodskaya Street, where Galina Sergeevna Ulanova, an outstanding Soviet ballerina, lived, they cannot install a memorial plaque for her. But in Moscow there is a place for a monument to the tsarist detective Koshko, who also emigrated", - Moscow City Duma deputy Yelena Shuvalova told Novye Izvestia.

“Something incredible is happening with the monuments in Moscow and in Russia. The Russian military-historical society, which initiated the construction of most of them, does not seem to understand at all: memorization is a very delicate thing, and instead of grateful memory it is very easy to get rejection. But for RVIO, the main thing, apparently, is the budget money that is allocated for the monuments. Comes to paradoxes. In Tambov, for example, there are two identical monuments to Archimandrite Luka! It cannot be called otherwise than a cut of budget funds. This is how the memory of deserving people is discredited ”, - says historian Natalya Samover.

In connection with the monuments lobbied by the Military Historical Society, anecdotes are already appearing. The author of one of them is the well-known journalist of the VID TV company Dmitry Zakharov. He writes:

“It is necessary to erect monuments to all those close to them during their lifetime and in advance. And for this, in the Moscow region, set aside a "valley of monuments" so that the heroes can come and admire themselves. And of course there should be special areas for barbecue, picnics and catering. For the uninvolved and excursions - the entrance is paid!".

However, recently quite interesting initiatives related to the monument to Yevgeny Zinichev have begun to appear among Muscovites. In particular, there is an idea to renovate and expand the polyclinic of the Ministry of Emergencies, making it free and accessible to local residents, giving it the name of Yevgeny Zinichev.

“Evgeny Zinichev committed a noble deed to save a person. The idea with a polyclinic named after him is great, because he sacrificed himself for the sake of people, and the memory of him should be embodied in this form. Thousands of people will be grateful if they are treated at the clinic named after him. And the strange loyal initiatives of the Military Historical Society can erase the memory of even the most worthy person, ”historian Natalya Samover believes.

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