Moscow, February 18, Interfax - There should not be a monument to Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Soviet secret police, on Lubyanka Square, and it would be better to reinstall a fountain there, like before the revolution, Federation of the Jewish Communities of Russia (FJCR) spokesperson Boruch Gorin said.
"It seems to me there are approximately two options there, bearing in mind the history of the place. One is a memorial to victims of repression. But because I am afraid of very modern monuments (as a rule, they make the city look ugly), I would prefer it if they reinstalled a fountain there, like the fountain that calmly stood on Lubyanka Square for a whole century after 1835," Gorin told Interfax.
The FJCR spokesman said he believes it is important "not to play with restoring the monument to Dzerzhinsky, which is wonderful from an artistic viewpoint."
In the context of history, it would be a full justification of the evil things done by the services that Dzerzhinsky created, Gorin said. "It seems to me that it is outrageous and wrong to put a monument to the founder of a service whose work cost millions of innocent people their lives," he said.
As to the fountain, Gorin said he believes its blueprints, drawn up by an Italian sculptor, are probably well-preserved, and "the appearance of this peaceful artifact from the past would be a return to a more or less vegetarian period of the history of our country, which would be very useful."
Some political forces have called for the monument to Dzerzhinsky to be reinstalled at Lubyanka from time to time for many years now, which human rights activists categorically oppose. The idea of installing a fountain in the center of Lubyanka Square has also been proposed, but it turns out to be technologically impossible.
Public debate on the possible installation of a monument on Lubyanka Square has intensified again over the past week. Among the proposals are monuments to Dzerzhinsky, Alexander Nevsky, Ivan III, and Yury Andropov. Moscow City Duma speaker Alexey Shaposhnikov suggested putting the issue of the return of the monument up for a referendum. Moscow's chief architect Sergey Kuznetsov said he believes the issue of the development of the Lubyanka Square should not be rushed, and the opinions of all social groups should be taken into account.
The Nikolsky fountain was installed on Lubyanka Square in 1835. It used drinking water from the Mytishchi water supply line. Under the Soviets, after the death of Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission - Joint State Political Directorate (VChK-OGPU), the square was named after him in 1927. After the reconstruction of the square in 1934, the Nikolsky fountain was transferred to the internal yard of the Aleksandrinsky Palace in the Neskuchny Garden. In 1958, a monument to "Iron Felix" was installed where the fountain previously stood. In 1990, the square was again given its old name, Lubyanka Square.
The monument to Dzerzhinsky was dismantled in 1991, immediately after the August coup. Afterward, the monument, designed by sculptor Yevgeny Vuchetich and architect Grigory Zakharov, was transferred to the Muzeon park in front of the Tretyakov Gallery building on Krymsky Val Street.
In 1990, prior to the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Solovetsky Stone, a huge granite boulder, was placed on Lubyanka Square, in the Polytechnic Museum's park, to commemorate political prisoners and victims of political repression.