MONUMENT TO ALEXANDER III
Did you know that he moved several times? The first eight years since the opening of the monument have passed serenely. A guard was even posted at the monument. Everything changed in 1917. In 1919, instead of the existing inscription, a poem by Demyan Bedny was carved on the pedestal, and the monument itself began to be called “Scarecrow”. During the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the October Revolution, the monument is used in an installation where the sculpture of Alexander III is placed in a cage. After twenty years of mockery, they decide to remove the monument from Vosstaniya Square. In 1937, the wanderings of the equestrian sculpture of Alexander III begin.
FIRST STOP. Initially, the monument was removed to a warehouse located on Ligovskaya Street (now Ligovsky Prospekt). Within two years, the fate of the sculpture was decided, and in February 1939 the monument was accepted for storage by the Russian Museum. As stated in the acceptance certificate “without reins and with bullet holes.”
SECOND STOP. In 1939, the monument was transported to the garden. MOPR (now Mikhailovsky Garden). Here is how the director of the Russian Museum P.K. Baltun. “One summer white night in 1939, a strange motorcade passed along Ligovskaya Street, then along Nevsky Prospekt: several strong percherons on wooden skids dragged an equestrian statue of the tsar. put on a low pedestal here or in one of the courtyards.”
The plans for the reconstruction of the Mikhailovsky Garden and the installation of sculptures in it were prevented by the Great Patriotic War. Above the monument lying on its side, a shelter is built from logs and a man-made hill is created from sand and earth, which is sown with oats. During the shelling of Leningrad, a shell hits the hill. The shelter was damaged, part of the statue appeared above the ground, but the monument was not damaged. The right half of the sculpture of Alexander III sticking out of the hill adorned the Mikhailovsky Garden until the early 1950s.
THIRD STOP. Only in 1953, having completed the primary work on the post-war restoration of the Russian Museum, they again took up the monument. Having freed the sculpture from the ground, it was lifted and transported to the courtyard of the Russian Museum, which is located between the Rossi wing and the Benois building. The monument was erected next to the wing with its back to Engineering Street. It seemed that in such a quiet “harbor” the monument was supposed to find peace, but that was not the case. In 1964, they again develop a project to install a sculpture of Alexander III in the Mikhailovsky Garden, but it did not work out. For more than thirty years, the monument stood by the fence separating the courtyard of the Russian Museum from Inzhenernaya Street.
FOURTH STOP. During the reconstruction of the Benois building in the mid-80s of the 20th century, the monument was moved deep into the courtyard and covered with a plank structure. In 1990, the sculpture was released from hiding. Visitors to the Russian Museum, passing through the passage that connects the Rossi wing with the Benois building, could, by moving the curtain, see Alexander III. The sculpture stood facing Rossi’s wing. The monument stood at this place until 1994.
FIFTH STOP. In the 1990s, the “yard period” of the existence of the monument was interrupted. Unlike in 1939, when the sculpture was transported at night, in 1994 it was loaded onto a tractor during the day and taken to Millionnaya Street, and therefore photographs of this motorcade were taken. The monument to Alexander III was erected on a low pedestal in the court d’honneur of the Marble Palace on the platform in front of the entrance to the palace. Will this stop be the last or will the monument continue its odyssey.