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6 most controversial monuments in Russia: from the Tsar in a skirt to the "terrible Alyonka"
6 most controversial monuments in Russia: from the Tsar in a skirt to the "terrible Alyonka"

Today in many cities of the world you can see unusual or ambiguous sculptures, monuments or monuments. Sometimes they, established with the good purpose of perpetuating the memory of historical events, a person, a literary character or any phenomenon, become the object of public resonance, generating grandiose scandals. Russia is not an exception either. About the strangest and most controversial monuments installed on the squares of cities and villages, further - in our review.

They became famous, they became famous

It is thanks to such a creation on the eve of the new 2021 that one provincial town of the Voronezh region became famous throughout the country. True, the sculpture called "Alenka" did not stand in a place of honor for long … Only three days, but it made a lot of noise.

Monument to Alena, the founder of the village of Novaya Alenovka. Sculptor: Alexander Shilin

On the occasion of the jubilee date of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the village of Novaya Alenovka, on the site of which the modern city of Novovoronezh is now located, it was decided to erect a memorial monument that would serve as a reminder to local residents about the history of their city. According to legend, Alyonushka came to this region on foot from Lebedyan, chose a wonderful place by the stream and invited people to live here, so the village of Novaya Alyonovka appeared. This was 250 years ago.

For a good cause, the organization of veterans has allocated one million rubles at the expense of grants. What the art object will be, the working group discussed for six months. When they came to a common opinion, the artist Alexander Shilin created a sketch, and the blacksmiths took up the work. The notorious Alenka had to be sculpted from sheet metal and reinforcement. The author of the project popularly explained to customers that with such a small budget it will not work to be original - only in this way, in no other way.


The sculpture was sculpted on time, and on December 18, 2020, a monument dedicated to the founder of the village was opened on the square of the city park. As soon as the veil fell from the head of a metal woman, the residents of the city gasped … The sculpture, which was supposed to become a landmark of Novovoronezh, frightened some, made others laugh, and others, without thinking for a long time, immediately criticized the art object in social networks, noting that it looks more like a monument to "victims of COVID-19", "Russian melancholy" and "post-apocalypse." And some went even further, calling the newly-made Alenka - "a monument to Russian Death."

While Alenka was showing off on the square for three whole days, the city was buzzing. The authorities, realizing their mistake, decided to remove the 200-hundred-kilogram Russian "beauty" from the main square of the city. After dismantling it, it was planned to put it under the hammer (the fee to its creators was paid to a penny), and a new commemorative sign was put on the money received from the sale.

Dismantling of a sculpture in Novovoronezh

After the incident, the blacksmiths who sculpted the sculpture expressed the hope that their brainchild would fall into good hands, as they put their whole soul into the work. A colleague of the artist Shilina went much further, saying in an interview that women in Russian villages 250 years ago looked exactly like that. Well, what else can you say …

P.S. By the way, there were a lot of people willing to buy this work of art. To date, more than 50 applications have been received for the redemption of the monument to Alenka. The producer of "Tender May" Andrei Razin also wished to buy the art object. He wrote on his Instagram that he wants to save it as.

Loud scandal around the "naked" monument

And more than three years ago there was no limit to the indignation of the residents of Sergiev Posad. The new monument dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Soviet counteroffensive near Moscow became the subject of general indignation. The sculpture, which is a waltzing couple of graduates, was considered by the people not only indecent, but also immoral. Most believed that the dancing girl's chest was depicted too openly, almost naked.

Sculpture "Tomorrow was the war", dedicated to the graduates of 1941

The sculpture "Tomorrow Was the War" was inaugurated on June 22, 2017 on Kuznetsov Boulevard. And after a few days she had to be altered a little, removing the protruding nipples, supposedly from under the dress, because many thought that the girl was dancing in one skirt. And since the wave of popular indignation did not stop there, the sculpture had to be completely dismantled and significantly modified. In September of the same year, a couple of dancers in a modified form were hoisted to the same place, where it flaunts to this day.

The people's protest has done its job. By the way, the fact that the author of the work was the sculptor and Orthodox priest Yevgeny Antonov added fuel to the fire. Many did not understand what the clergyman wanted to say by this.

Sculpture "Tomorrow was the war", dedicated to the graduates of 1941. / In the new version /. Sergiev Posad. Author: Evgeny Antonov

Father Eugene himself described the concept of his creation as follows: "" Nevertheless, the sculptor had to listen to the voice of the people and dress up a young girl in a dress.

Monument to Peter I in the Peter and Paul Fortress

None of the monuments to the founder of St. Petersburg evoked such violent emotions, protests and art history battles as the statue of Peter I, created by the contemporary artist Mikhail Shemyakin, which was installed in 1991 in the Peter and Paul Fortress in front of the Guardhouse.

Monument to Peter I in the Peter and Paul Fortress. Author: Mikhail Shemyakin

This time, an ambiguous reaction from the public was caused by the violation of the proportions of the body of the depicted king. The body and legs of Peter were increased almost twice, and the head remained at the same natural size, which made it look very small, and Peter himself was a kind of giant.

Creating the monument, in particular the head, Mikhail Shemyakin took as a basis the famous works of Carlo Rastrelli - the "wax person" and the death mask of Peter. This explains the inscription on the pedestal:

And Shemyakin himself explained the deliberate violation of proportions by the fact that for a long time he failed to convey the gigantic growth of Peter and the scale of his personality (both on a physical and spiritual level) with the help of a realistic approach. The Russian emperor, sitting on the throne, looked too casually. Therefore, several times changing its proportions, Mikhail settled on the canons of Russian icon painting, where the saints were depicted with elongated bodies and relatively small heads. A really subtle approach and a relatively sensible decision. You can't argue against the saints.

Monument to Peter I in the Peter and Paul Fortress. Author: Mikhail Shemyakin

True, the authorities of the northern capital had to puzzle for a long time - where to install such an original statue. We considered different options - from the Summer Garden to the square in front of the shopping center in Kupchino. As a result, in 1991, Shemyakinsky Peter was erected in a more or less suitable place - in the Peter and Paul Fortress.

An interesting fact - the idea of ​​creating a bronze Russian Tsar Shemyakin was suggested by Vladimir Vysotsky, somehow dropping: But at that moment the artist was not yet ready for this work, and he remembered Vysotsky's idea only in 1990, in America. Then work began on this project.

Monument to Marshal Zhukov on Manezhnaya Square for the 50th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War

Yes, that there is Voronezh, Peter and Sergiev Posad, in Moscow itself you can often see a lot of sculptural structures that cause if not protest, then sincere bewilderment among residents and guests of the capital.

Monument to Marshal Zhukov on Manezhnaya Square for the 50th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War. Sculptor: Kyacheslav Klykov

The monument to Marshal G.K. Zhukov (1995) has stood on Manezhnaya Square for more than a dozen years, and the residents of the capital have already got used to it. However, the statue of the sculptor Vyacheslav Klykov at first aroused indignation and a flurry of indignation among many.And it's all about the same proportions. The marshal clearly shows incredibly short legs, which makes him look very comical. And all these years, the residents of the capital were sure that the equestrian statue at the Historical Museum absolutely does not meet its purpose, but only causes ridicule and spoils the bright image of the great marshal.

Therefore, the Committee for the Memory of Georgy Zhukov, supported by social activists for many years, came up with the idea to remove the defective statue of the commander. It was proposed, as an option, to take the dismantled monument to the homeland of the commander, to the Kaluga region, and put a new statue, more monumental, in front of the historical museum. It must be said right away that the Kaluga authorities flatly refused to accept such a "generous" gift, and this idea hung in the air for a long time.

Installation of a new monument to Marshal Georgy Zhukov on Manezhnaya Square, March 20, 2020

An interesting fact is that the sculptor Klykov himself at one time was dissatisfied with the location of the monument. He called the decision to place him on Manezhnaya Square "illiterate." He drew attention to the fact that a shadow from the Historical Museum falls on the monument for almost a whole day. And so he urged the former mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov to erect a monument on Red Square, since all other possible places of installation would become "a mockery of the memory of the hero."

However, as they say, the water wears away the stone and after a quarter of a century the activists still managed to achieve the replacement of the monument. On the new sculptural composition, as before, the commander is riding a horse. At the same time, Zhukov's right hand is now not lowered down, but salutes. The horse, which used to stand on all four legs, now holds the left front leg up. The fate of the dismantled monument is not yet known.

Peter the First on the Moskva River

Zurab Tsereteli. / Monument to Peter I. Moscow

The scandal around the monument to Peter, created by the famous sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, shook the capital for several years. And it began long before its installation in 1996. At that time, the Russian media regularly said that Peter was a reworked version of the Columbus monument, which the sculptor tried to sell to a number of countries for the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America. And since Tsereteli did not manage to push his creation either to Spain or to the countries of Latin America, the sculptor, having changed the image of the protagonist, safely identified his brainchild in Moscow. True, Zurab did not really bother about changing the tsar's outfit. So he remained dressed in clothes that were unconventional for Russia. Therefore, the people called the tsar of the Russian lands "Peter in a skirt".

Monument to Peter I on the Moscow River. Sculptor: Zurab Tsereteli

In 1996, activists incessantly staged pickets and rallies, wrote petitions to the President of the country. But they could not achieve their goal - a grandiose monumental structure with a sculpture of the Russian emperor was installed at the appointed time and in the specified place. Later, the monument was included in various tops of the ugliest buildings in the world.

True, at one time there was an idea to donate a 98-meter sculpture weighing two thousand tons to St. Petersburg, however, when the sum of dismantling and relocation to another place was announced at one billion rubles, the ardent desire to donate Peter was completely gone. Over time, the passions around the monumental structure have subsided altogether, and the "Monument dedicated to the 300th anniversary of the Russian fleet" still flaunts on the banks of the Moskva River.

Horse sculpture. Voronezh

And again I would like to return to Voronezh, which never ceases to amaze both citizens and visitors. One of the most controversial monuments in this region is the Voronezh horse, causing a flurry of emotions. Residents and guests of the city are trying to understand the very peculiar kind of this animal, which does not at all fit in their heads with a noble horse. And no matter how hard some witty citizens tried to identify the horse to any breed of artiodactyls, nothing happened. None of the known have such specific individual data.

The infamous horse named Yaryzh is the creation of the hands of Maxim Dikunov. Voronezh

The infamous horse named Yaryzh is the creation of the hands of Maxim Dikunov, a descendant of a dynasty of sculptors."Horse with eggs", as it is also called by townspeople and tourists, is located near the hotel "Yar". The management of the institution announced a competition to create such a creation, which was supposed to reflect the atmosphere of the hotel and its spirit. And looking at the symbol, one can only imagine what a healthy spirit hovers within the walls of this hotel.

However, some are confused not so much by anatomical anomalous details as why the sculptor put a piece of rail in the horse's teeth. To this the author readily replies: The presence of a horse of impressive masculinity is not publicly explained. Perhaps this is also a symbol. For example, a symbol of the presence of a certain horsepower in men. The sculpture weighs 3 tons and is 3.5 meters high. Quite impressive …

And in conclusion, it should be noted that some contemporary Russian sculptors do not lack originality and conceit. And yet I would like that, often spending people's money on the creation of their ambitious creations, they would at least take a little into account the feelings of their fellow citizens. This also applies to no less than statesmen who give the go-ahead for the installation of such works.

We also bring to your attention a short overview of outlandish monuments from around the world.

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