Bust of Nicholas II planned for Achinsk

On 15-16 [O.S. 2-3] July 1891, Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich [the future Emperor Nicholas II], visited Achinsk on his journey across Siberia to St. Petersburg.

Achinsk is a city in Krasnoyarsk Krai, located on the right bank of the Chulym River near its intersection with the Trans-Siberian Railway, 184 kilometers (114 mi) west of Krasnoyarsk.

On 10th December, a planning committee met to discuss plans to install a bust-memorial of Nicholas Alexandrovich to mark his historic visit to the city 130 years ago.

“Nicholas II was not only a political leader, under which our country became one of the three most advanced countries in industrial production, but also became one of the spiritual centers of the world,” says Viktor Barykin, an Achinsk ethnographer, one of the members of the initiative group. “The bust should become a symbol of our spiritual unity and the reconciliation of all forces in the name of the future of Russia,” he added.

Having considered various options, the participants in the initiative group agreed that the bust must be made of bronze, and the pedestal must be granite. As Achinsk lacks the technical ability to fulfill such an order, specialists from Moscow will be consulted.

According to preliminary calculations, together with the pedestal, the work will cost about 900 thousand rubles [$12,300 USD]. It is unlikely that the city’s budget will be able to allocate that kind of money, therefore bringing the project to fruition will depend on the financial support of patrons and private donations. If every resident of Achinsk contributes at least 10 rubles, this will be enough. In the near future, a special account will be registered to which a person can make a donation for this good cause. The option of participation in the city program, which provides for the financing of initiative projects, is also being considered, but the application cannot be submitted until March of next year.

If all goes according to plan, the bust can be opened for the 340th anniversary of Achinsk, which will be celebrated in 2023. The bust is planned to be installed in Trinity Park, next to the Poklonny Cross on the site of the Holy Trinity Cathedral, where the future Emperor went to pray, and later destroyed by the the Communists in the 1930s.

A preliminary sketch of the proposed bust-monument has already been made: Nicholas II is depicted as a young man – that year when he visited Achinsk, he was only 23 years old.

“It should not be a monument for the sake of a monument,” – said the artist and Honorary Citizen of Achinsk Pavel Batanov, who was unanimously elected as the chairman of the initiative group. “First of all, the bust-monument should combine royalty, humanity, and holiness. The main thing is that it should be created at a high professional level.”

© Paul Gilbert. 13 December 2021