Winner of competition announced for Moscow memorial to victims of political repression

posted 25 Sept 2015, 14:01 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 25 Sept 2015, 14:09 ]
23 September 2015

Source: (info
The winner of the competition is the “Wall of Sorrow” by the sculptor Georgy Frangulyan. The installation in the centre of Moscow of a “federal” memorial to victims of Soviet state terror has been a goal of former political prisoners, relatives of the victims of repression, the Memorial society, associations of victims of repression, and human rights activists for a quarter of a century.

The competition was administered by the State Museum for the History of the Gulag. Vzglyad writes that applications were received from 12th February till 15th May 2015, with 337 entries in total, mostly from Moscow and St Petersburg, but also from participants in Ekaterinburg, Voronezh, Novosibirsk and Kalmykia.

In June the first deputy head of the presidential administration, Vyacheslav Volodin, discussed the creation of the memorial with members of the Presidential Human Rights Council.

On the jury were distinguished Russian artists, sculptors, architects, representatives of large and not so largebig architectural offices, project managers, design studios and artists’ associations.

Works were evaluated by the jury as well as by a panel of experts. The expert panel was made up of: the director of the Moscow department of culture, Andrei Kibovsky; the capital’s chief architect, Sergei Kuznetsov; the president of the Russian Council of Architects, Andrei Bokov; the rector of the Moscow Institute of Architecture, Dmitry Shvidkovsky; the artist Igor Gurovich; the chair of the Moscow State City Duma commission on public art and the commission for culture and mass communications, Lev Lavrenov and Yevgeny Gerasimov.

The chair of the Union of Russian Artists, member of the Presidential Council for Culture and Art, chair of a commission of the Public Chamber, Andrei Kovalchuk, told Izvestiya how they came to select the finalists. “I took part in the project in the capacity of coordinator of the group of experts – I did not vote, but commented. We looked at all the projects and gave recommendations to the jury members – explained our reasons and helped in reaching decisions,” said Kovalchuk. “I would say that everything was conducted in a democratic way. We met several times and looked at all the projects and then reduced them to a short list.”

The jury was made up of 29 people including writers and poets Daniil Granin, Valery Ganichev, Andrei Dementiev; film directors Pavel Lungin, Gleb Panfilov, Sergei Miroshnichenko, Stanislav Govorukhin; public activists like Natalya Solzhenitsyn, Alla Gerber, Aleksei Simonov, Liudmila Alekseeva, Ella Pamfilova, and others, as well as academics.

The chair of the board of the human rights and charitable organisation Memorial, Arseny Roginsky pointed out that the members of the jury did not know the identity of the sculptors who made each project, in order to avoid bias in their assessments. “From the start of the work the experts reviewed and chose 53 which from their point of view met the various requirements – technical, practical, aesthetic and others. Then the jury reviewed all the works, including the 53 recommended by the experts, and put them to the vote. We knew only the identifying number of the work, but not the names,” said Arseny Roginsky.

The memorial will be paid for in part by public donations. The State Museum for the History of the Gulag has organised fund raising via its own bank account (Museum for the History of the Gulag” account no: 2605641000800395) and has received initial contributions. The public can provide funding to the memorial to victims of political repression, as well as express their personal preference for the project of their choice, via the competition’s website.

The memorial will be put up on the square at the crossroads of Sakharov Prospect and Sadovaya-Spasskaya Street.

On 16th September 2015 the State Museum for the History of the Gulag opened an exhibition of all projects entered for the competition. The exhibition will be open till 7th October.

Translated by Frances Robson