Millennium of Russia

Coordinates: 58°31′16.05″N 31°16′30.87″E / 58.5211250°N 31.2752417°E / 58.5211250; 31.2752417

The Millennium of Russia (Russian Тысячелетие России) is a bronze monument in the Novgorod Kremlin. It was erected in 1862 to celebrate the millennium of Rurik's arrival to Novgorod, an event traditionally taken as a starting point of the history of Russian statehood.

The Millennium of Russia.
The Millennium of Russia (1862), with Saint Sophia Cathedral in the background. The upper row of figures is cast in the round and the lower one is in relief.

A competition to design the monument was held in 1859. An architect Viktor Hartmann and an artist Mikhail Mikeshin were declared the winners. Mikeshin's design called for a grandiose, 15-metre-high bell crowned by a cross symbolizing the tsar's power. The bell was to be encircled with several tiers of sculptures representing Russian monarchs, clerics, generals, and artists active during various periods of Russian history.

Mikeshin himself was no sculptor, therefore the 129 individual statues for the monument were made by the leading Russian sculptors of the day, including his friend Ivan Schroeder and the celebrated Alexander Opekushin. Rather unexpectedly for such an official project, the tsars and commanders were represented side by side with sixteen eminent personalities of Russian culture: Lomonosov, Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Karl Brullov, Mikhail Glinka, etc. As for the Russian rulers, Ivan the Terrible is famously absent from the monument due to his role in the 1570 pillage and massacre of Novgorod by the Oprichnina. Alongside the Muscovite princes, the mediaeval Lithuanian dynasts such as Gediminas or Vytautas the Great who reigned over the Eastern Slavs of the present-day Belarus and Ukraine are represented.

The most expensive Russian monument up to that time, it was erected at a cost of 400,000 roubles, mostly raised by public subscription. In order to provide an appropriate pedestal for the huge sculpture, sixteen blocks of Sortavala granite were brought to Novgorod, each weighing in excess of 35 tons. The bronze monument itself weighs 100 tons.

Commemorative coin issued in the USSR in 1988.

At the time when the monument was inaugurated, many art critics felt that it was overloaded with figures. Supporters regard Mikeshin's design as harmonious with the medieval setting of the Kremlin, and subtly accentuating the vertical thrust and grandeur of the nearby 11th-century Saint Sophia Cathedral.

During World War II, the Germans dismantled the monument, and prepared it to be transported to Germany. However, the Red Army regained control of Novgorod and the monument was restored to public view in 1944. A 5-ruble commemorative coin was released in the USSR in 1988 to commemorate the monument.

Middle levelEdit

Picture Name Name in Russian Historical year Description
  The arrival of the Varangians in Rus Призвание варягов на Русь 862 The statue of the first warrior prince Rurik with helmet and shield with the inscription "year 6370" (since the creation of the world). Rurik wears a fur on his shoulders, behind him the pagan Slavic god Veles can be seen. The figure looks south-west, in the direction of Kiev.
  The Christianization of Rus Крещение Руси 988 In the center, the Kievan Grand Prince Vladimir the Great can be found, raises an Orthodox cross. Besides, a woman holds her child for baptism and a Slav dispossesses the pagan god Perun. The composition looks in the south-eastern direction.
  Beginning of the expulsion of the Tatars Начало изгнания татар 1380 Dmitry Donskoi, the victor in the Battle of Kulikovo, holds a Russian mace in his right hand. At his feet lies Mamai, the defeated warlord of the Golden Horde. In the left hand Dmitry Donskoi holds a captured bunchuk, the Tatar symbol of power. The composition looks east.
  Foundation of an independent Russian Tsardom Основание самодержавного царства Русского 1491 Ivan the Great in a dress of Byzantine emperors with Monomach's Cap. In his hands he holds a scepter and a globus cruciger. In front of him, a Tatar is kneeling, beside him, a Lithuanian is lying, representing Grand Duchy of Lithuania, as well as a Teutonic knight with a broken sword, representing the Order of Teutonic Knights. The composition looks north-east.
  Enthronement of the Romanov dynasty Начало династии Романовых 1613 The young Tsar Michael of Russia ascends to the Russian throne after the overcoming of the Time of Troubles. Prince Dmitry Pozharsky who represents the nobility protects him with his sword while Kuzma Minin who represents the people offers him the Monomach's Cap and the scepter. In the background, a figure of a Siberian Cossack can be found which symbolizes the colonization of Siberia to come.
  Creation of the Russian Empire Образование Российской империи 1721 Peter the Great with laurel wreath and scepter in the right hand is supported by an angel showing him the way to the north-west where the future city of Saint-Petersburg shall be founded. At Peter's feet, defeated Swede can be found trying to protect his torn flag. This symbolizes the Russian victory in the Great Northern War. The composition looks north-west.

Bottom levelEdit

Men of enlightenment: Statesmen: Military men and heroes: Writers and artists:
  Cyril and Methodius, missionaries of Slavs Yaroslav the Wise, Grand Prince of Kiev   Sviatoslav I of Kiev, Grand Prince of Kiev   Mikhail Lomonosov, polymath
  Olga of Kiev, Grand Princess of Kiev   Vladimir Monomakh, Grand Prince of Kiev   Mstislav Mstislavich, Prince of Novgorod and Galicia   Denis Fonvizin, playwright
  Vladimir the Great, Grand Prince of Kiev   Gediminas, Grand Prince of Lithuania   Daniel of Galicia, Prince of Galicia   Alexander Kokorinov, architect
  Abraham, bishop of Rostov   Algirdas, Grand Prince of Lithuania   Daumantas, Prince of Pskov   Gavrila Derzhavin, poet and statesman
  Anthony of Kiev, founder of the Monastery of the Caves   Vytautas, Grand Prince of Lithuania   Alexander Nevsky, Grand Prince of Vladimir   Fyodor Volkov, actor
  Theodosius of Kiev, Kievan monk   Ivan the Great, Grand Prince of Moscow   Michael, Prince of Tver   Nikolai Karamzin, playwright and historian
  Kuksha of the Kiev Caves, Kievan monk   Sylvester, clergyman and statesman   Dmitry Donskoi, Grand Prince of Moscow   Ivan Krylov, poet of fables
  Nestor the Chronicler, chronicler of the Russian history   Anastasia Romanovna, first wife of Ivan the Terrible   Kęstutis, Grand Prince of Lithuania   Vasily Zhukovsky, poet and translator
  Cyril of White Lake, Founder of the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery   Alexey Adashev, Ivan IV's bosom friend and advisor   Daniil Kholmsky, general   Nikolay Gnedich, Poet and translator
  Stephen of Perm, Bishop and Missionary of Perm   Hermogenes, Patriarch of Moscow   Mikhail Vorotynsky, Field Marshal   Aleksandr Griboyedov, Writer and Diplomat
  Alexius, Metropolitan of Kiev and Moscow   Michael Romanov, first Romanov tsar   Daniil Shchenya, military leader   Mikhail Lermontov, poet and writer
  Sergius of Radonezh, spiritual leader   Filaret, Patriarch of Moscow   Marfa Boretskaya, Posadnik of Novgorod   Alexander Pushkin, poet and writer
  Peter Mogila, Metropolitan of Kiev   Afanasy Ordin-Nashchokin, Diplomat   Yermak Timofeyevich, Cossack leader   Nikolai Gogol, Writer
  Zosima of Solovki, Founder of the Solovetsky Monastery   Artamon Matveyev, Statesman and Diplomat   Mikhail Skopin-Shuisky, military leader   Mikhail Glinka, Composer
  Maximus the Greek, Writer and scholar   Alexis, Tsar   Dmitry Pozharsky, Prince   Karl Briullov, Painter
  Savvatiy, Founder of the Solovetsky Monastery   Peter the Great, Tsar and first emperor   Kuzma Minin, Organizer of the People's Army   Dmitry Bortniansky, Composer
  Jonah, Metropolitan of Moscow   Yakov Dolgorukov, advisor to Peter I   Avraamy Palitsyn, Monk and Writer
  Macarius, Metropolitan of Moscow   Ivan Betskoy, Statesman and Reformer   Bohdan Khmelnytsky, Hetman of the Zaporizhian cossacks
  Varsonofius, Archbishop of Tver   Catherine the Great, Empress   Ivan Susanin, Folk hero
  Guriy, Archbishop of Kazan   Alexander Bezborodko, Statesman and Diplomat   Boris Sheremetev, Field Marshal and Diplomat
  Konstantin Ostrozhsky, Prince and voivode of Kiev   Grigory Potyomkin, Statesman and Diplomat   Mikhail Golitsyn, Field Marshal
  Nikon, Patriarch of Moscow   Viktor Kochubey, Statesman and Diplomat   Pyotr Saltykov, Field Marshal
  Fyodor Rtishchev, Philanthropist   Alexander I, Emperor   Burkhard von Münnich, Field Marshal
  Dimitry of Rostov, Churchman and composer   Mikhail Speransky, Statesman   Alexei Orlov, General
  Tikhon of Zadonsk, Archbishop of Ladoga and Voronezh   Mikhail Vorontsov, Field Marshal   Pyotr Rumyantsev, Field Marshal
  Mitrofan, Archbishop of Voronezh   Nicholas I, Emperor   Alexander Suvorov, Generalissimo
  Georgy Konissky, Archbishop of Belarus   Michael Barclay de Tolly, Field Marshal
  Feofan Prokopovich, Archbishop of Novgorod; Statesman   Mikhail Kutuzov, Field Marshal
  Platon Levshin, Metropolitan of Moscow   Dmitry Senyavin, Admiral
  Innocent, Archbishop of Chersonesos Taurica   Matvei Platov, General
  Pyotr Bagration, General
  Karl Diebitsch-Zabalkansky, Field Marshal
  Ivan Paskevich, Field Marshal
  Mikhail Lazarev, Admiral
  Vladimir Kornilov, Vice-Admiral
  Pavel Nakhimov, Admiral



External linksEdit