Monument to Reconciliation to be erected in Crimea in 2017

Novocherkassk has the Monument to Reconciliation  and Consent
Novocherkassk has the Monument to Reconciliation and Consent

It was decided at the fifth Congress of Compatriots in November to erect a Monument to Reconciliation in Crimea by 2017. Vladislav Kononov, Executive Director of the Russian Military-Historical Society, says that “historians joke that anniversaries are a driving force of history, and it has always been that way, so it is the same in the new Russia, so it was in Soviet times, it was that way before the events of 1917, when the millennium of Russia was celebrated widely. We are now on the eve of the centenary of very complicated events. The events of 1917, which are united into the general concepts of the Great Russian Revolution – the events of February 1917, the events of October 1917 – in contemporary historiography by modern historians.”

In the spring of this year the Russian Military-Historical Society initiated a conference, a round table, which was addressed by the chairman of the Military-Historical Society, the Minister of Culture, Vladimir Medinsky. He stated that it is enough to divide society into ‘Reds’ and ‘Whites’. “It took 100 years, enough for all the sides to understand the mistakes that were made, to recognize the good things that were brought about by the revolution, and to recognize the tragedy which was brought about by it. In fact, the monument would become a symbol of reconciliation, a creative contest that declares these days. We plan to have the preliminary results next summer, to determine the best,” Kononov said.

According to him, “we have to think about reconciliation, not only the reconciliation of the ‘Whites’ and the ‘Reds’, we have to think about reconciliation in a global way. And from this point of view, Crimea as a place for the construction of the monument gives us a very important opportunity. Perhaps the words I am going to say will sound quite loud, but would like that the  Monument to Reconciliation will unify not only the ‘Whites’ and the ‘Reds’, bringing together not only the history of Soviet Russia and the history of modern Russia, with the history of pre-revolutionary Russia, I would like this monument to become a symbol that will finally bring together Russia and Ukraine. I would like to believe that this monument will be a symbol that will promote the reconciliation of Russia and Western civilization.”

Kononov hopes that the public demand for it is not only in Crimea, not only in Russia, but it is among the many thousands of our compatriots living abroad, in the many other countries in which people believe in a strong, great and united Russia.

Speaking about the idea of the monument, Alexander Zhuravsky, Deputy Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation, noted: “We are representatives of the country's rich and complex history. And all this can be combined. And just maybe in the last 10 years we have been making attempts to reconcile this story, the facts of this story, the biographies of the people who lived wonderful, sometimes tragic, sometimes great lives. And this concerns all of us, because when we say that a monument will be constructed,  this monument will be a monument to the reconciliation of those who remained in Russia, who were forced to emigrate, those who fought on the side of the ‘Whites’ or on the side of the ‘Reds’, we forget that this choice, made by everyone, was rarely straightforward or simple.”

According to Zhuravsky, fund-raising will be carried out by the whole world: “It is not like taking money from the federal budget and calming down.”

An important idea is incorporated in the symbolic act of finding a site: “This has to be in Crimea. And this is an absolutely apolitical approach. We fully understand what role the Crimea peninsula played in the history of the Civil War, the tragic history of the separation of the two parts of Russia, and now it plays the role of reconciliation, unification, restoration of communications. Therefore, the Russian Military-Historical Society begins this very important project along with Congress. It will be finished in two years, on November 4th 2017, I think it will be a very important event,” Zhuravsky stated.