UNESCO has demanded from Russia of the report on the monument to Prince Vladimir

The report by 1 December

The world heritage centre of UNESCO sent a letter to the Russian authorities and the national Commission under this international structure with the requirement to submit a report on the monument to Prince Vladimir based on previously conducted consultations. This was told by the employee of the sector of external relations of UNESCO Victoria Kalinin.

Details that concern the world heritage Centre, are of a technical nature — we are, in particular, about the height of the monument, said Kalinin. The report the Russian side should submit by 1 December this year, said the employee of the sector of external relations of UNESCO. The last time the monument to Prince Vladimir was discussed in April of this year in Moscow, at the meeting, Deputy General Director of UNESCO, Francesco Bandarin with Russian officials.

The response from the Russian authorities and the national Commission for UNESCO has not yet followed, says Kalinin. Permanent representative of Russia to UNESCO Eleonora Mitrofanova at the time of writing were unavailable for comment.

Next round of consultations between officials of the Ministry of culture with representatives of UNESCO on the issue of the monument to Prince Vladimir, may be continued in Paris at the end of October this year, said the Director of the Department of state protection of cultural heritage Ministry of culture, Mr Representative. In a letter from the Director of the world heritage Centre Mechthild Ressler officials will meet in the near future, said the Representative.

Despite the ongoing consultations with UNESCO, the Russian government and the Russian military historical society (RVIA) has begun the installation of a monument on a pre-planned schedule. On the night of 16 October this year on Borovitskaya square, began to mount the monument, its opening is planned on the Day of national unity on 4 November.

Dissatisfaction with UNESCO

The idea of installing the monument to Prince Vladimir on Borovitskaya square appeared at the city hall, after the former project is the construction of the monument opposite the building of Moscow state University caused displeasure. A petition to transfer the project signed by more than 60 thousand people. The government eventually postponed the installation of the monument.

In August 2015, via the online referendum “Active citizen” Muscovites suggested to select a new location for the monument — the Borovitsky hill, charge or Lubyanskaya square where formerly stood the monument to Dzerzhinsky. Won the option of Borovitsky hill, but he, like the opposite project of Moscow state University, did not suit many members of the public and experts.

But this time the questions have been of the world heritage Centre. In January of this year, the organization said that it is wrong to consider the area between Pashkov House and the Borovitsky gate of the Kremlin as “an empty space that can be filled without urban planning”. UNESCO has warned that the refusal of consultations on the development of the historical landscape and failure to comply with the requirements of the Convention for the protection of the heritage can lead to consequences for Russia. The Kremlin in the event of adverse developments, could lose the status of world heritage site, is not excluded in UNESCO.

Now the list of world heritage 1052 object, 27 of them are located in Russia, 33 national monument in the inclusion list. Inclusion in the list, as noted in the Fund “natural heritage”, popularitywith included objects among tourists and sets the priority in attracting financial resources from international structures, in particular of the Foundation for the preservation of world heritage.

In April of this year, during a visit to Moscow, Bandarin stated the need for developing an integrated project of improvement of Borovitskaya square. In the summer he again visited Moscow, where this time met with the Minister of culture Vladimir Medinsky.

The Russian response

The Russian side expects from the world heritage Centre to respond to their treatment. There is still no final documented approvals for construction, said Executive Secretary of the Commission for UNESCO at Ministry of foreign Affairs Grigory Ordzhonikidze. “Response to our letter delay for six months. Now press to quickly sent”, — he explained.

The Russian side fully complied with the recommendations of the world heritage Centre — starting with the settings adjustments on the height of the monument to Prince Vladimir, ending with plans for the landscaping of the adjacent territory, said the Representative of the Ministry of culture. According to him, the height of the pedestal was eventually reduced from 25 metres to 17.5 metres, including the length of the four-meter cross.

Complied with the Russian government and another recommendation of the world heritage Centre to carry out improvement Borovitskaya square and declare him an international contest, said the official. In April 2015 the chief architect of Moscow Sergey Kuznetsov declared that the winner of the competition of landscaping is an architectural Bureau Ai Аrchitects. The project, according to the architect, is an allusion to the shape of the waves, and he is made of stone.

In addition, the Representative of Moscow authorities have agreed with UNESCO and that, in addition to the improvement of Borovitskaya square and the installation of the monument, you need to enter this place in a single pedestrian route along the Kremlin. Promenade currently working through the capital’s officials, told the Representative. Take into account the Russian government and the wishes of UNESCO experts to conduct additional studies of the archaeological layer at the location of the monument, lists the recommendations of the Representative.

“Experts told us that the archaeological layer is 10 meters, but after our excavations, the archaeologists came to the conclusion that in reality, this layer does not exceed 4-5 meters. The demolition of buildings before the visit of [U.S. President Richard] Nixon in the 1970s, significantly damaged the archaeological layer, Slusarev it”, — explained the Representative.

If the world heritage Centre would be strongly opposed to the installation of the monument in the form in which it eventually presented the RVIA and the Russian authorities, it would be reported using different formats, prior to installation, suggested by the officials.

Technical recommendations of the world heritage Centre and the lack of a tough stance about the monument to Prince Vladimir, says the Representative, saying that the Kremlin will not be deprived of the status of world heritage monument. It is a long and complicated procedure, the Director of the Department: initially, the monument contribute to the list of UNESCO sites threatened, then direct officials to recommendations, implementation of which will remove the fears of experts, and if they are not met, exclude a monument from the UNESCO world heritage list. Anything that involves the procedure of exclusion of a monument from the UNESCO world heritage list, has not been done, says the official.

The status of the Kremlin should not be afraid, I agree with Ordzhonikidze official from the foreign Ministry. When UNESCO has received documents from the Russian side about the monument, no claims have arisen, he said.

The protest came to naught

“The present dimensions of the monument is the result of coordination with UNESCO, agreed to this including because of the political situation. One cannot say that UNESCO has shown a weakness, but it’s structure with their problems, which take into consideration and affect the organization”, — said the Chairman of the Council on the protection of the heritage of the Russian Academy of architecture and construction Sciences (RAASN) Alexander Kudryavtsev.

He was one of the authors of the appeal to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, in which he called the installation of the monument in the historical area of the Kremlin is a town-planning mistake. The appeal Council for the protection of the heritage was supported by dozens of architects, conservators, members of the cultural heritage Council and the public Council of the Ministry of culture, employees of the Pushkin Museum. Pushkin and Museum of architecture. Shchusev. They stated that the monument is contrary to the legislation of the Russian Federation on the protection of heritage and architectural and town-planning logic.

Kudryavtsev still regrets that the project of the monument to Prince Vladimir on the Borovitsky area has not changed, but an active opposition is no longer ready. Kudryavtsev admits that originally hoped for an active role of UNESCO in this matter, but did not find adequate support. On the other hand, says Kudryavtsev, “the Russian side is ready for dialogue and has taken real steps to enter the monument into the environment”.

Numerous letters of experts with the requirement to revise the design of the monument on Borovitskaya square was useless, said the Professor of the Moscow architectural University (MARKHI), a member of the Federal scientific and methodological Council for cultural heritage Ministry of culture Natalia Dushkina. “And what can now be protests if you have already started to mount a monument?”, she wonders. Dushkin believes that the Russian expert community is not ready to Express their position, and the reaction should be expected from the relevant international organisations.

Arhnadzor against

The movement for the protection of cultural heritage “Arhnadzor” unlike academic experts continues to oppose the monument to Prince Vladimir on Borovitskaya square, said a member of the coordinating Council of Arhnadzor Konstantin Mikhailov, a part of the presidential Council for culture and the arts. The monument, in its opinion, may cause the exclusion of the Kremlin from the list of world heritage site — as previously happened with the railway bridge over the Yenisei river and Vodlozersky national Park. UNESCO is closely watching the safety of objects, said Mikhailov, for example, poaching in the reserve of Oman and the construction of a bridge in Dresden has led to the loss of status.

“UNESCO has a long tradition — not to speak publicly, and conduct a long correspondence with the member countries. From this culture came to the conclusion that silence is assent, and decided to erect a monument”, — said Mikhailov. But it is important to understand that UNESCO is not a foreign cultural obkom, where to complain to solve internal problems: if “themselves have no sense of time”, the international organization trust is meaningless”, he said.