Monument to Felix Dzerzhinsky, Moscow

The Monument to Felix Dzerzhinsky (Russian: Памятник Дзержинскому, romanizedPamyatnik Dzerzhinskomu), also known by the nickname Iron Felix (Russian: Железный Феликс, romanizedZheleznyy Feliks), commemorates Felix Dzerzhinsky (1877–1926), Bolshevik revolutionary and head of the first two Soviet state-security secret police organizations, the Cheka and the OGPU. The monument, designed by Grigory Zakharov [ru] and incorporating a statue of Dzerzhinsky sculpted by Yevgeny Vuchetich, was erected on Dzerzhinsky Square, Moscow in 1958, next to the Lubyanka Building.

Monument to Felix Dzerzhinsky in Moscow
The monument in 1991 in its original location in front of the Lubyanka Building
55°44′07″N 37°36′32″E / 55.73528°N 37.60889°E / 55.73528; 37.60889
LocationMuzeon Park of Arts, Moscow
DesignerGrigory Zakharov [ru]
  • Granite (statue)
  • Steel (pedestal)
Opening date
Dedicated toFelix Dzerzhinsky
Dismantled date22 August 1991 (KGB location)

History edit

Construction and unveiling edit

In 1918, the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission was located in the buildings on Lubyanska Square, the founder and first head of which was Felix Dzerzhinsky, who later headed other state security secret police agencies that were located there. In the autumn of 1926, shortly after Dzerzhinsky's death, Lubyanka Square was renamed Dzerzhinsky Square by the decision of the Presidium of the Moscow City Council.[1]

In 1940, a competition was announced for the project of a monument to Dzerzhinsky, which was won by Sarra Lebedeva, who created a lifesized sculptural portrait of Dzerzhinsky, but her project was not implemented.[2]

Construction of the monument began in July 1958, with the statue sculpted by Yevgeny Vuchetich, and the overall design by Grigory Zakharov [ru]. The monument was opened to the public in 1958, outside the Lubyanka Building, which housed the headquarters of the Soviet security services, the OGPU, NKVD (responsible for the bloodletting of the Stalin purges of the thirties),[3] NKGB, MGB and KGB.

August coup and Muzeon Park relocation edit

Protesters on Lubyanka Square on 22 August 1991, seeking to dismantle the statue

On the evening of 22 August 1991, shortly after the failure of the coup attempt undertaken by the State Emergency Committee, thousands of people began to gather around the KGB building on Lubyanka Square, seeking to topple Dzerzhinsky's statue, seeing it as a symbol of the brutal Soviet past. People sprayed the words "executioner", “antichrist”, “Felix is finished,” and the symbol of the Russian Orthodox Church on the pedestal.[4][5][6]

By the evening of the same day, people climbed onto the statue and affixed ropes to it, attached to a truck. Toppling the monument in this way risked damaging the adjacent Lubyanka metro station. To avoid this, deputy chairman of the Moscow City Council Sergei Stankevich [ru] addressed the crowd and introduced a resolution with the Moscow City Council to remove the monument. It was then dismantled with a construction crane and taken to wasteland close to the new building of the Tretyakov Gallery. In 1992, the monument was without ceremony dumped into the Fallen Monument Park, where other Soviet-era monuments were collected.[3]

Reerection in 2023 edit

Over the years there have been debates on whether or not the Dzerzhinsky monument should be returned to Lubyanka Square, especially after Vladimir Putin, a former KGB-agent himself, became Russia's president in 2000. Finally the monument was reerected on September 11, 2023, but this time in front of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service headquarters outside Moscow.[7]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Что известно о дискуссии вокруг памятника на Лубянской площади". ТАСС.
  2. ^ Culture, View Theories and Practices of Visual. "Lubyanka Square - the Monument of an Unresolved Conflict". View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture.
  3. ^ a b Yaffa, Joshua (July 17, 2020). "What the Removal of a K.G.B. Statue Can Teach America". The New Yorker – via
  4. ^ "Памятник Дзержинскому в Москве. Досье". ТАСС.
  5. ^ "Неизвестные факты о памятнике Дзержинскому". 24 June 2015.
  6. ^ КАФТАН, Лариса (August 18, 2011). "Сергей Станкевич, советник президента Бориса Ельцина по политическим вопросам: "Над бушующей толпой висел 26-тонный Феликс Дзержинский"".
  7. ^ "Statue of founder of Soviet secret police unveiled in Moscow". September 11, 2023.