Moscow, February 20, Interfax - Muscovites are invited to vote for one of two monuments, which are candidates for a seat on Lubyanka Square, namely a monument to founder of the Soviet secret police Felix Dzerzhinsky or to Prince Alexander Nevsky, on the Active Citizen platform from February 25 to March 5, Chairman of the Moscow Public Chamber Konstantin Remchukov told Interfax.
"It was decided at a meeting of the council of the Moscow Public Chamber to hold a vote on the Active Citizen platform as the most reliable voting platform from February 25 to March 5 on the issue of erecting a monument on Lubyanka Square. Following discussion, we also concluded that there would be two names in this poll, namely a monument to Felix Dzerzhinsky or a monument to Alexander Nevsky," Remchukov said.
"We decided that the purity of the genre is as follows: we have received two proposals, we are submitting these two proposals for discussion, otherwise we don't have a mechanism for selecting other candidates, that is, on what basis will we exclude someone?" Remchukov said in response to a question why, for example, there is no option for "against all" or "fountain." At the same time, the members of the council agreed that the option "against all" is an expression, among other things, of some other option, which also cannot be revealed.
Additionally, a letter will be sent to the head of the Moscow Council of Municipal Formations, Vladimir Dudochkin, who will be asked to contact each of the 146 municipalities to find out the opinions of local deputies, Remchukov said. "We asked all 146 entities to speak out and also provide us with the protocols of their votes, so that we also have an idea of how votes were divided within them," he said.
After receiving all the results, they will be summarized and transferred to the mayor's office. "We will summarize the whole matter, we have a technical function in this case, and say: 'Muscovites think so, you decide whatever you like.' When the Moscow City Duma votes, it will become clear what it thinks about this issue. The authorities will have more grounds for making decisions based on, we hope, a slightly more accurate understanding of the opinion of Muscovites," Remchukov said.
It was also decided that on the basis of the Moscow Public Chamber headquarters for monitoring the elections led by the deputy chairman of the Moscow Public Chamber, Alexey Venediktov, a special working group will be set up, which will include representatives of political parties, non-governmental movements, and initiators of the installation of these monuments to monitor the voting process.
Experts will be invited to the voting observation headquarters, Venediktov told Interfax.
"We will invite representatives of the Officers of Russia who proposed Dzerzhinsky, as well as representatives of the museum community who proposed that a monument to Alexander Nevsky be erected, as well as presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky," he said.
Venediktov said he himself backs the inclusion of an option for a fountain in the vote, and therefore, he abstained from voting at the council of the chamber.
On February 16, the Moscow Public Chamber commission for the development of civil society discussed with experts the need to erect a monument on Lubyanka Square. Venediktov noted that this issue should be resolved through a vote on the Active Citizen portal. At the same time, Moscow chief architect Sergey Kuznetsov noted that Lubyanka Square should retain its transport function.
The issue of using the area in the center of Lubyanka Square has been discussed for many years. In particular, the Communists have repeatedly called for the return of the monument to Dzerzhinsky to the square. Recently, leader of the For Truth party Zakhar Prilepin, writer Alexander Prokhanov, and a number of other public figures signed a similar petition sent to the mayor's office.
Later, about 30 historians, publicists, and public figures turned to Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin with a request to erect a monument to Prince Ivan III on Lubyanka Square. There were also initiatives to install monuments to Nevsky and Yury Andropov, as well as to build a chapel there for holy Christian martyr Felix.
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 Muzeon Park in front of the Tretyakov Gallery building on Krymsky Val Street.
In 2016, the non-governmental organizations Memorial and Arkhnadzor supported the Moscow chief architect's initiative to restore a historical fountain on Lubyanka Square, but this was technologically impossible.
Later, city development and landscaping work was carried out on the square within the framework of the My Street program. It was also reported that the space in the center of the square would be integrated into the pedestrian zone from the Polytechnic Museum to Zaryadye Park.