PHOTO: the clay model of the monument to Nicholas II by sculptor Ilya Shanin
Within 24 hours of the announcement of plans to install a new monument to Emperor Nicholas II this summer in Vladimir, opponents reared their ugly heads in protest. It should come as no surprise, that the statements issued by both communist and atheist opposition groups wreak of historical inaccuracies and hypocrisy.
According to Russian media sources, the initiative was first criticized by the regional branch of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. The party’s statement says that local communists are “categorically opposed to perpetuating the memory of ‘Nicholas the Bloody‘ because he organized the mass execution of unarmed workers in St. Petersburg and dragged Russia into two unnecessary wars.
“The cynicism of the initiative is further aggravated by the fact that 2022 is the year marking the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the most developed and fairest state in the world, thanks to whose legacy the Russian Federation still exists. The installation of a monument to the unfortunate tsar who denied his people civil rights and the Constitution looks like blasphemy and mockery not only of common sense, but also of the victorious people,” the regional branch of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation argued in a statement.
It is interesting to note that these same communists themselves work to immortalize the name of Stalin in Vladimir. In 2015, a bust of Stalin was installed near the offices of the Vladimir regional committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. It was later moved to a private property, along with monuments to other Soviet leaders. Recently, they proposed to rename a street in honour of the Soviet dictator, or at least hang a memorial plaque in his honour.
It is interesting – and yet not surprising – that the communists prefer to overlook the fact that Joseph Stalin remains one of the most notorious figures in history, one whose legacy is stained with the blood of millions of innocent Russians, through collectivization, famine, terror campaigns, disease, war and mortality rates in the Gulag. Sadly, we may never know the actual numbers, but the number of victims is estimated to be in the millions.
PHOTO: Metropolitan Tikhon of Vladimir and Suzdal
In addition, the Vladimir branch of the All-Russian public organization “Atheists of Russia” have also voiced their opposition to the monument to Nicholas II in the city. The activists sent an appeal to Metropolitan Tikhon of Vladimir and Suzdal, in which they asked to prohibit the installation of the monument, even though the monument is to be installed on the grounds of the Church of the Life-Giving Trinity.
“In the history of Russia, perhaps, it is impossible to find rulers to whom society treated so negatively as to Nicholas Romanov, who received the nickname “bloody” among the people. The majority associate Nicholas Romanov with the powerlessness and illiteracy of the population of Russia, the shooting of peaceful demonstrators, obscurantism, failed wars, etc. “
Members of the organization believe that the implementation of the project may lead to conflicts on religious grounds in the Vladimir region. What nonsense!
It should be noted, that the installation of the proposed monument to Nicholas II on the grounds of the Church of the Life-Giving Trinity, has not yet been approved by Metropolitan Tikhon. Despite this, the rector of the church announced a fundraising initiative for its construction on 7th November 2021.
© Paul Gilbert. 11 January 2022