About the monument to Kotovsky in Chisinau and not only
In a recent article by V. Ryzhov “Who walks wounded under the red banner”, published by Military Review on October 22, 2023, also spoke about the sad fate of the equestrian monument to Nikolai Shchors, which is located in Kyiv.
The current Ukrainian authorities are, as they say, in awe of such heroes. As part of “decommunization,” they would have demolished this monument long ago, but it is on the State Register of “immovable” monuments of national significance in Ukraine.
As a result, the Minister of Culture of Square A. Tkachenko announced that only the sculpture of a horse is of artistic value, which “recognized by all art critics as an outstanding artistic horse" And he suggested that Shchors be removed and the horse left behind.
It is difficult to say how this tragicomic situation will be resolved. In the meantime, this sculpture is bashfully closed in a box of “yellow-black” color and, they say, was badly damaged by vandals.
Meanwhile, a similar monument to another hero of the civil war is located in Chisinau. In the 20th century, it was even recognized as one of the best equestrian statues in Europe. And the horse (separate from the rider) was also one of the three most successful sculptures in Europe. We are talking about the monument to Grigory Ivanovich Kotovsky.
Monument to Kotovsky in Chisinau. Soviet era postcard (1980s)
Monument to Kotovsky
Recognized as one of the best equestrian statues in Europe, as is the horse separately from the rider.
Despite this, at the opening of the monument to Kotovsky, Marshal Budyonny swore without hesitation, at the top of his voice. Being an excellent rider, organizer and commander of the cavalry of the Red Army, Semyon Mikhailovich had an excellent understanding of horses. He immediately noticed that the sculptor had placed the rider on the “wrong” horse.
There was a pacer under Grigory Ivanovich, but the brigade commander didn’t ride one like that. They didn’t take pacers into the army: they were too expensive, and they quickly fell out of action. Even Arab sheikhs preferred pacers mainly for ceremonial rides.
Therefore, Budyonny was publicly indignant and demanded to restore historical the truth, placing Kotovsky as befits his status - on a war horse. However, for objective reasons, the composition was preserved in its original form. It was unsafe to replace the horse: the law of universal gravitation interfered! It turns out that mounting a massive statue of a brigade commander on an ordinary war horse was almost impossible. And the pacer, who had not yet managed to take a full step, stood firmly on three points of support.
Central square of Chisinau, 1939/1940s. Monument to Ferdinand I (King of Romania) in front of the Victory Arch and the Cathedral. Later, instead of Ferdinand, a monument to Lenin will be erected
The monument to G.I. Kotovsky was the result of an All-Union competition. We considered several projects by different authors. So, in 1947, they considered the project of the sculptor Muravin and the architect Karakis (see photo). Then the project of Muravin and Lysenko.
Project of a monument to Kotovsky. Gypsum. 1947 Author: Muravin Lev Davidovich
Project of a monument to Kotovsky. Author: Muravin Lev Davidovich, Lysenko Mikhail Grigorievich
But preference was given to another project. The author of the realized statue of Kotovsky is Lazar Dubinovsky, and the horse belongs to the hand of the animal sculptor Anatoly Posyado.
The creative team included sculptor Ivan Gavrilovich Pershudchev, battle painter Konstantin Demyanovich Kitayka and chief architect of Chisinau Fyodor Petrovich Naumov.
Final project with authors
Initially, it was planned to erect a monument to Kotovsky on the main square of Chisinau, opposite the Victory Arch. There was just an empty pedestal on which the monument to Ferdinand I had previously stood.
In 1940, a sign was first attached to it, which announced that a monument to the hero of the Civil War would be erected here. Then, before the start of the war, they managed to erect a temporary monument to Kotovsky.
Soviet Chisinau. Pedestal of the monument to Ferdinand with a portrait of Kotovsky, 1940
Also 1940, a temporary monument to Kotovsky has already been erected
In 1941, the Romanian-German authorities dismantled it. After the war, the location was reconsidered and chosen not far from the railway station (the disappeared Gutsulyovka district). There, one-story houses were just being demolished and the future Negruzzi Avenue was being laid.
1941, main square. The monument to Kotovsky was dismantled. The pedestal is decorated with Romanian flags and flowers
As an animal sculptor, Anatoly Posyado, of course, had an excellent understanding of horses, so he could accurately distinguish a war horse from a pacer. But in order to make the statue of the Civil War hero stable, we had to resort to forgery. After all, the saber alone weighs 95 kilograms, and the entire sculpture weighs about 20 tons!
The grand opening of the Kotovsky monument took place on February 23, 1954. It was timed not only to the Soviet Army Day, but also to the 10th anniversary of the liberation of Bessarabia (Iasi-Chisinau operation). The meeting was attended by many military and civilians, both ordinary and high-ranking.
Rally at the opening of the monument to Kotovsky (February 23, 1954)
The monument to Kotovsky stands in the same place to this day.
Over the past seven decades, he has seen much better times. If in Soviet times the monument was one of the symbols of Chisinau, then during the times of independence everything happened to it...
There was also a declaration of love to the girl, written in white paint all over the pedestal. And there was also a couple of young homeless people living in a hut at the foot of the monument. They hung their washed clothes on boxwood bushes to dry. The media mentioned that they were both drug addicts, and at the time of her arrest by the police, the girl was also pregnant.
Nevertheless, the monument to Kotovsky in Chisinau was not desecrated by vandals and was not hidden from the eyes of passers-by. Unlike the monument to Shchors in Kyiv.
Below are old archival photos and a series of recent photographs of the monument in good quality. The author thanks Valery Ryzhov for his support.
Excerpt from the magazine "Ogonyok" dated September 30, 1940. Below is a photo of the opening of the monument to Kotovsky in the homeland of the division commander (village of Gincheshty / city of Kotovsk / Hincheshty)
Portrait of Kotovsky. Artist K. D. Kitayka. 1948
The building of the MSSR Academy of Sciences rises on the hill. A boulevard will be laid to it, apartment buildings, an institute, and a clinic will be built.
Marshal of the Soviet Union Semyon Budyonny at an inspection in the MSSR (1949)
Several panoramic photos of the surrounding area
Behind the monument are old houses in the Gutsulevka district. They will be demolished, 9-story panel buildings will be built, and an avenue will be laid
Construction of the Cosmos Hotel on the site of the private sector
- Mikhail Zadunaysky
- oldchisinau.com, locals.md, Sputnik Moldova, 44.ua
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