Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Monument Graveyard

We're currently experiencing a bit of an Indian summer here in Moscow. We've had more warm, summery days in the past week than we had all summer long. Very strange weather for Moscow.

I'm not going to complain about too much sunshine, though.  Everyone in Moscow, locals and foreigners alike, is spending as much time as possible outdoors, trying to get one last dose of vitamin D in their bones before winter sets in.

I guess that's why the monument graveyard was so crowded last weekend.

It isn't really called the monument graveyard, not officially. But that's what people have always called it, ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Back before the collapse, there were loads of Soviet statues in Moscow: Lenin, Stalin and other lesser-known Communist elite were up on pedestals all over town.

After the collapse, Russians pulled those statues down. But what to do with them? Many were relocated here, unceremoniously dumped in the park. It used to be fun to wander around those toppled statues. These days, they're still in the park, but they've been put back up on their pedestals. The effect isn't quite as eerie as it once was. 

There are hundreds of other statues in the park, which I think is officially referred to as "Muzeon" or "Park Skulpturi ЦДХ." (If you're interested in visiting, you'll find it behind the Central House of Artists, across the street from Gorkii Park.)

"We demand peace."

Iron Felix

Felix Derzhinsky, the first director of the Cheka (Soviet secret police). This statue stood in the square outside the Lubyanka prison, where Derzhinsky's office was located. I think it's almost a legal requirement that you put the word "notorious" in front of the name Lubyanka prison. Terrible things happened in that prison during Soviet times, and this guy is one of the people responsible for the horror of it.  I was actually in Moscow when they toppled this statue, during the coup of 1991, although I didn't see it happen and I didn't even know it had happened until days afterwards - all television and radio broadcasts in Moscow went dark that day, so nobody knew just exactly what was going on. Scary times.

Peter the Great, off in the distance.

Monument to the victims of repression.

Stalin, minus his nose.

Don't remember the name, but I liked this one.

"The Dancer"

Christ the Saviour, across the river in the far distance. Peter the Great to the right.


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