The ones who are looking backwards: a monument to Lenin was restored in the Oryol region
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The ones who are looking backwards: a monument to Lenin was restored in the Oryol region

6 November , 15:55Culture
On the Day of National Unity, a monument to the leader of the world proletariat reappeared in the ancient town of Bolkhov, Oryol Region.

Lyudmila Butuzova

Lenin returned to the central square, where he had stood since the end of the 20s of the last century, from time to time either disappearing after barbaric attacks, or appearing to the townspeople in a new image (with a cap in his hand or on his head, looking to the right - hand to the left). Today, after the major reconstruction of the square, Lenin took his place on the edge (he used to stand in the very center) and turned his back on the tourists entering the city. And this is far from the worst thing that happened to the monument to the founder of the first socialist state on earth.

The name of the sculptor and the date of the erection of the monument to Lenin in Bolkhov are not known. According to an old postcard, which was found in the archives of the associate professor of the Oryol Technical University Orest Anokhin, in the late 20s - early 30s. of the last century, the monument was already here and, I must say, had a pale appearance - a small figure in a jacket on a disproportionately huge pedestal. There is no exact data when it was first lost. According to one legend, during the occupation of Bolkhov, the Nazis threw him into the nearest ravine. The next day, he disappeared from there, and after the liberation of the city, the patriots returned the monument to its place. However, there was a suspicion that this was another Lenin. Firstly, he was no longer in a jacket, but in a long coat and with a cap, and instead of a pedestal with a ladder perched on a column. Old-timers associate the disappearance and restoration of the first monument with the construction of a new road through Krasnaya Gorka straight to the central street of Bolkhov - Leninskaya (formerly Nikolskaya). He just got in the way ...

After the collapse of the USSR, the fate of the monument acquired a tragic character. In the midst of the "democratic" changes, eight (!) "Attempts" were committed against him. They stole the leader of the revolution (into their garden), doused them with paint, set them on fire, cut off a leg with a grinder and even shot three times in the head of the statue from a hunting rifle. The local police department knocked off its feet, looking for the ideological opponents of Vladimir Ilyich or unprincipled intruders who coveted the ownerless property (the city administration did not bother to register the monument and put it on record). In hot pursuit, it was not possible to find vandals. For all the time, only one resident of the village of Krylovsky voluntarily surrendered. He said that he collects scrap metal. Faced with the monument, I decided to check what metal it was made of. I wrapped one of the sections with insulation, doused it with gasoline and set it on fire in the hope that the paint would scorch in the fire and it would be clear what was under it. It blazed as if there was a stack of firewood inside the monument. Out of fear, he ran away, but decided to surrender and cooperate with the investigation. The arsonist was given a written undertaking not to leave the place, and for some time it was quiet around Lenin. This was facilitated by the installation of video surveillance on the square. But one night the monument was nevertheless dragged away, wrapped with something and set on fire. As a result, he was completely disfigured and was no longer subject to restoration. The city did not find money for a new one, therefore, with the approval of the society, the administration erected a bust of Vladimir Ilyich from the local museum on the pedestal.

With the same ease, a few years ago, the residents of Bolkhov renamed Marx Street in honor of the honorary citizen of the city, Archpriest Vasily Yermakov, and the spiritual children of the priest instantly built a hotel complex “Bolkhovskaya Starina” of four buildings with a restaurant, a Russian bathhouse and an antique shop on this street. The hotel employs local residents and annually brings a stable income from tourists to the treasury. The amount of taxes collected from small businesses increased by 116%. In the city with a population of 11.5 thousand people there are 8 functioning churches. Fr Vasily's followers organized pilgrimage trips to Bolkhov - from Moscow and St. Petersburg. And some simply moved to Bolkhov themselves. "They liked a quiet provincial corner near Moscow," Blagovest-Info reported.

According to Orthodox correspondents, the massive pedestal with a disproportionately small bust of Lenin spoiled the view of Bolkhov. The idea was born to move the monument from the central square to another place where it would not attract attention. The collection of signatures for the transfer was initiated by the abbess of the Trinity Optina Monastery, Matushka Euphalia, arguing that the monument to Lenin offends the religious feelings of believers, since it allegedly stands on the site of a temple demolished in Soviet times (this was not confirmed). Only 150 signatures were collected from the offended believers, although it was assumed that in the old merchant city, where the clergy were always strong, there were many more haters of the Soviet regime. But the descendants have long been derailed, most of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren were on the side of the socialist transformations that Lenin accomplished in our country. In any case, this is exactly what the activists of the "Essence of Time" movement under the direction of the political scientist Kurginyan think, in response to the petition of Mother Evphalia, in just four days they collected 1,566 signatures in Bolkhov in defense of the Lenin monument. The authorities listened to the pluralism of opinions and decided not to bump their heads against ideological opponents, but to concede to both - to renovate the square, restore Lenin, move it and turn it to face the administration building. A wise decision, by the way, officials can ask the leader for advice right from the windows of their offices.

The entire operation to select a contractor for a delicate case was carried out electronically on the State Procurement website and cost the municipal budget 7.4 million rubles. The contract for the execution of the work was won by a private entrepreneur from Orel, Alexander Sementsov. It was planned to complete the object no later than December 1, 2020, the guy did everything in the best possible way a month earlier - now the square is in paving stones, and Lenin rose like a Phoenix from the ashes. But if on the old pedestal there was only a laconic inscription: "VI Lenin", now here is the real name of the leader of the proletariat, with the date of birth and death. His revolutionary pseudonym known to the world is in brackets. Tribute to the times. The younger generation of Bolkhov residents no longer knows what kind of uncle he is. And events in honor of the leader are held here only when he returns to the pedestal after the next restoration.

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