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January 5, 2011

Monument to Emperor Nicholas II Replaces Statue of Lenin

Paul Gilbert
January 1, 2011
Royal Russia News

History has come full circle to the town of Shushenskoye, a small town situated in the Krasnoyarsk Krai region of eastern Russia. On December 30th, a monument dedicated to Emperor Nicholas II was unveiled on the same spot where a statue of Vladimir Lenin had stood for decades. Ironically, Lenin lived in exile in Shushenskoye from 1897 to 1900.

The bronze bust of Russia's last tsar was designed by the famous Krasnoyarsk sculptor Constantin Zinich. Located in the center of town, it stands in front of the head office of the largest producer of alcohol in the Shusha district. The idea of removing the statue of Lenin and replacing it with a monument to Nicholas II was that of company CEO, Viktor Ovanov, who also financed the project.

The monument, which is situated in the center of the village, was consecrated by Archimandrite Alexis and other members of the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church.

"Some things leave a mark in our personal and spiritual lives", said the archimandrite, "Nicholas II evokes a glorious page in Russian history. He was an example of one who lived a pious life and set a good example for which we, Russians, deem fit to remember".

"It is the urge of the heart and soul of the Orthodox faithful of Russia", as he explained the meaning behind the monument. "Contemporaries, historians and descendants of various political and religious views will refer to his great personality. I am sure of one thing about Nicholas II, and we still have much to learn. He was a true Christian, a wonderful family man, and most importantly of the Emperor, the glory and the good of Russia was always dear to him. Many to this day are unaware that our country enjoyed the strongest period of economic development during the reign of Nicholas II. Therefore, it is important that as we rejoice at the current achievements of our state, that we not forget similar achievements made in 1913".

Sadly, according to local authorities, the unveiling of the monument to Nicholas Romanov was apparently met with little enthusiasm. Sadly, this is further evidence of the negative attitude many Russians still have of the last Emperor of Russia, this is in part due to the smear campaign that the Bolsheviks launched against him before his abdication, and throughout the Soviet years.

After the Revolution, the Bolsheviks destroyed statues and monuments of the Romanov's all across Russia. The new monument in Shushenskoye is the latest in a series of monuments that have been erected in cities and towns across Russia in recent years, not just to Nicholas II, but other emperors and empresses as well. It is interesting to note that while most statues and monuments to Lenin have disappeared from the Russian landscape since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, many new monuments of the former Romanov rulers are returning. Perhaps Russians are at last coming to terms with their past and re-evaluating the life and times of Nicholas II and the role of the monarchy in the context of their fascinating but turbulent history.