Peter the Great to Remain a Muscovite

Zurab Tsereteli’s monument to Peter the Great has been a symbol of controvery since 1997

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Peter the Great is going nowhere, despite a storm of criticism that threatened to sink Moscow’s nautical monument to the tsar.

But its cold-headed financial pragmatism rather than aesthetic appreciation which has seen City Hall weigh anchor and stop the statue setting sail.

Taking the statue down would be joyful for many, but pricey for everyone – and apparently Muscovites have reluctantly dismissed the idea.

Don’t waste money

“There was a public discussion, but most people supported the point that if we had it already, we shouldn’t waste budget money to remove it,” Vladimir Resin, Moscow’s First Deputy Mayor and the acting mayor after Yury Luzhkov’s dismissal, said in an interview to Rossiya 24. Earlier Resin himself said the place for the monument hadn’t been chosen properly.

Experts believe the statue’s demolition would cost up to $10 million – enough to build two desperately needed kindergartens, NEWSmsk reported.

No hurry

However, there are people who are ready to pay for an expensive one-way ticket for the hated monument, and the discussion started by Resin in October is still ongoing.

“When everyone says what he or she thinks, we will understand what to do,” Resin said without clarifying whom exactly he meant. “Some people say one thing, and others express different opinions. We don’t know which side to take,” he told KP by telephone.

The statue is not Moscow’s worst problem, and there’s no rush about making decisions, unlike road traffic issues.

“Let’s wait. We’ve got time. It’s not a one minute business, is it? And does it block Moscow roads? It’s not traffic jams. One, two, three, four months after we’ll see the discussion results, and sum everything up,” he said concluding that it will be the right time to talk then.

Talking point

Resin’s idea of finding a new place for Tsereteli’s monument was one of the most discussed of the acting mayor’s proposals.

It won the backing of heritage campaigners, many members of the public and a host of provincial cities which rushed to state their case to house the controversial sculpture.

Source: The Moscow News
16 November, 2010