18 February 2021, 16:11
World Russian People's Council backs idea of Ivan III monument on Lubyanka Square in Moscow
Moscow, February 18, Interfax - Konstantin Malofeyev, the deputy chairman of the World Russian People's Council led by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, believes that erecting a monument to Grand Prince of Moscow Ivan III (1440-1505) on Lubyanka Square in the center of Moscow would be the best choice out of all the options that have been proposed.
"If a monument is to be put up on Lubyanka Square, let it be a monument to Ivan III," Malofeyev told Interfax.
Historical justice should always be the central principle of urban development and the construction of monuments, he said.
"If a person built a city, built a street, he is much more entitled than someone who appeared in that place 500 years later," Malofeyev said.
It was Ivan III who founded Lubyanka at the end of the 15th century, when he resettled people there from Novgorod, after his forces conquered Novgorod and made it part of Muscovite Russia, whose glory was on the rise at the time, he said.
"Those Novgorod people hailed from the Lyubenets District of Veliky Novgorod. That's why they began calling the place in Moscow where they ended up the same as they called the place where they used to live in Novgorod. This word transformed into Lubyanka over time," Malofeyev said.
There was no monument to Ivan III on Lubyanka Square in imperial Russia, either, because the tradition of putting up monuments only appeared in modern Russia, while churches dedicated to patron saints were built before that. For instance, a large number of churches in honor of Alexander Nevsky appeared across Russia. This was done at the behest of Russian Tsar Alexander III, who wanted to commemorate his late father, Tsar Alexander II, Malofeyev said.
"Therefore, there was no monument to Ivan III not because someone disputed his unquestionable role in the history of Russia, but simply because it didn't occur to anyone that his descendants would forget the feats of this great ruler who unified Rus," Malofeyev said in conclusion.
The past week has seen public debate on the possibility of placing a monument on Lubyanka Square. The proposed options include monuments to Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Soviet secret police, Grand Prince Alexander Nevsky, Ivan III, and former Soviet leader Yury Andropov. Moscow City Duma Speaker Alexey Shaposhnikov came up with an initiative to decide whether to return the Dzerzhinsky statue to Lubyanka Square in a referendum. Moscow's chief architect Sergey Kuznetsov, in turn, is opposed to any haste in deciding on the further development of Lubyanka Square because he said the opinion of all social groups should be taken into consideration.