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February 24, 2022, 09:01


During the opening of the monument to Yuri Dolgoruky on Sovetskaya Square. Photo by B. Vdovenko. June 6, 1954 Main Archive of Moscow

The monument was erected 68 years ago.

In the center of the capital, on Tverskaya Square, there is a monument to Yuri Dolgoruky, the founder of Moscow. On August 13, 1947, the Council of Ministers of the USSR decided to build a bronze sculpture of a prince sitting on a horse.

According to the memoirs of the former chairman of the Moscow City Executive Committee, Georgy Popov, shortly before the celebration of the 800th anniversary of Moscow, historians provided the authorities with information that Yuri Dolgoruky is considered to be the founder of the city. Then the question arose about the construction of a monument to him.

It was decided to put the monument on Sovetskaya (now Tverskaya) Square, on the site of the monument to the Soviet Constitution, which was dismantled in 1941.

Vera Mukhina, author of the monument “Worker and Collective Farm Woman”, Georgy Motovilov, master of relief and founder of the school of monumental and decorative sculpture, and Sergey Orlov, sculptor-miniaturist, took part in the competition for the best design of the monument to Yuri Dolgoruky. All three architects presented their projects to the Moscow City Council.

According to the plan of Vera Mukhina, the prince was supposed to appear in a magnificent ancient Russian attire. The monument was supposed to be covered with multi-colored enamels, but, according to the commission, this approach did not particularly convey the image of the strong and unshakable founder of Moscow. Orlov’s layout was recognized as the most successful, which depicted Dolgoruky on horseback, due to which it was possible to artistically express the most important combination of two principles – a statesman and a warrior-hero.

On September 7, 1947, a solemn ceremony of laying the monument was held: a granite stone was temporarily installed on the pedestal. Then, for seven years, sculptor Sergei Orlov and architect Viktor Andreev worked on the creation of the monument.

The decision “On the opening of the monument to Yuri Dolgoruky in Moscow” was adopted by the USSR Council of Ministers only on February 15, 1952, when work on the manufacture of the monument was in full swing. In this document, the parameters of the sculpture were recorded in full size (height – 5.5 meters), the inscription on the pedestal was approved (“To the Founder of Moscow, Yuri Dolgoruky. The monument was erected to commemorate the 800th anniversary of Moscow. 1147–1947”) and determined the tasks for manufacturing and installation of the monument.

The production of the sculpture was entrusted to the organizations of the Committee for Arts under the Council of Ministers, control over the project of the pedestal was entrusted to the Main Architectural and Planning Department, the work on the improvement of Sovetskaya Square – to the Department for the Construction of Roads, Bridges and Tramlines, as well as the Department of Outdoor Lighting.

It was supposed to open the monument on September 7, 1952. However, the solemn ceremony was postponed to June 6, 1954. The rally in honor of this event was attended by the Minister of Culture of the USSR Georgy Alexandrov, the secretary of the CPSU MGK Ekaterina Furtseva, the chairman of the executive committee of the Moscow City Council Mikhail Yasnov, the academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences, historian Mikhail Tikhomirov and thousands of Muscovites who are not indifferent to the past of their city.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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