Russian Exhibit Depicts Friendship
of Alexander II and Abraham Lincoln

Source: NTD Television. Language: English. Duration: 3 minutes, 22 seconds

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An exhibition on the friendship between Russian emperor Alexander II and U.S. president Abraham Lincoln is on display in Moscow.

200 authentic artifacts from the state museums, foundations and private collections of Russia and the United States archive the activities of the two leaders.

The exhibition tells Russians about a brief but important period of history in the last two centuries.

Diplomatic relations between Russia and the U.S. became stronger during the American Civil War.

At that time, Alexander II supported Lincoln in his quest to save the American Union.

[John Byerly, U.S. Ambassador to Russia]:
"Pragmatism and friendship have been two main features of the relations between the United States and Russia for 200 years. And there is no more striking example of this friendship and this spirit of pragmatism, as this exhibition and the personal story of President Abraham Lincoln and Tsar Alexander II.”

The fates of both leaders are surprisingly similar.

Almost in unison, Alexander II and Abraham Lincoln had a landmark reform.

In 1861, the Emperor of Russia powered the emancipation for the serfs.

Two years later, in 1863, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing black slaves from captivity.

[Elena Chirkova, Exhibition Curator]:
"In one window there is a pen that Alexander II used to sign the journal of the General Assembly of the State Council, which put an end to the long history of editorial committees, peasant committees. This finally brought the Emperor’s decision of the abolition of serfdom in Russia."

Personal correspondence between the two rulers is presented for the first time in Russia.

Alexander II and Abraham Lincoln never met, but address each other in their letters as "Dear friend" or "Good friend."

A monument created by a Russian sculptor and representing the alliance between the two powers stands at the entrance to the exhibition.

[Alexander Burganov, Sculptor]:
"It is a symbolic sculpture. It depicts the emperor and the president, who made the most important friendship – they’re shaking hands with each other. This handshake, located in the center of the composition, is a symbolic key.”

The fate of both reformers ended tragically.

There are displays depicting the political assassination of Abraham Lincoln, as well as the terrorist act against the Russian Tsar.

The exhibition continues until the end of March at the Federal Archives’ Exhibition Hall.

Sources: NTD News
1 March, 2011