Putin Unveils New Monument in Yalta to Emperor Alexander The Peace Maker Steeped in Russian Traditio
Let's move to the South, to Crimea. This Saturday, President Putin opened a monument to Tsar Alexander III in Yalta. Alexander Balitsky has the details of the unveiling ceremony in the Livadia Palace park.
To the sound of the then unofficial anthem of the Russian Empire Alexander III returns to Livadia, which had been his favorite residence for many years. Thus, the festive raising of the flag by a guard of honor is also symbolic, as this white-blue-red tricolor became the state flag under Alexander III.
Flowers are brought to the pedestal which says: «Russia has only two allies: its army and its navy». But is that quote the only thing that the Tsar is known for?
He was dubbed 'peacekeeper' because Russia forgot about war during his reign, and even a decade after it.
Vladimir Putin: «Contemporaries called him the Peacemaker Tsar. However, according to Sergei Yulyevich Witte, he gave Russia 13 years of peace not by yielding, but by a fair and unwavering firmness. Alexander III stood up for the country’s interests directly and openly, and that policy ensured the growth of Russia’s influence and authority in the world».
The embossed composition represents a collective image of that time. Large-scale rearmament of the army with the legendary Mosin–Nagant, and large-caliber cannons, the Black Sea Fleet revival.
But sculptor Kovalchuk decided to evade the templates, also depicting what the development of the military industry led to: «Construction, industry, factories, plants, the oil industry developed, and, of course, the Trans-Siberian Railway, which gave impetus to the development of many regions».
To some extent, it was an import substitution, the policy of protectionism, which spurred unprecedented economic growth. And there was the Zemstvo reform, the opening of the Tretyakov Gallery and the Historical Museum.
Meanwhile, the emperor considered the monarchy and Orthodoxy the pillars of the state.
Vladimir Putin: «He believed that a strong, sovereign and independent state should rely not only on its economic and military power, but also on traditions. That it is crucial for a great nation to preserve its identity whereas any movement forward is impossible without respect for one’s own history, culture, and spiritual values.
We pay tribute to his deeds, achievements and merits, we show our respect for the continuous history of our country, for the people of all ranks and social classes who earnestly served the Fatherland».
The famous Russian historian, Klyuchevsky, wrote about Alexander III: «Europe recognized that the Tsar of the Russian people became the sovereign of the international world.»
And it was Crimea that turned into one of the Russian foreign policy centers. Livadia hosted the numerous European relatives of the Romanovs representatives of the imperial and royal houses of Britain, Denmark. So the cordial conversations turned into international negotiations, and the monarchs advanced the ideas of Russia in Europe.
Surrounding the President, Crimean students talk about preserving the historical memory. They even decided to publish a book.
Putin: As a journalist, what would you write about this monument?
Polina: I'd gather some stories and poems mentioning Alexander III, and publish a whole book that, perhaps, could be kept here, too.
Putin: What's your name?
— Polina, let's realize this project. I'll find a sponsor for you to realize it.
— Yes. I promise that I'll engage in this project. It could seem a sham, but we didn't frame anything up, right? We didn't.
— Hello, what's your name? Alexander. Alexander, like the Tsar. Yeah. Very well, Alexander. It's your namesake over there.
Alexander III did a lot for Crimea, too. Hospitals and sanatoriums were built on the Tsar's donations. Yalta became a respectable resort. Even the famous Massandra becomes the center of wine-making after Alexander III ordered to serve only Russian wines at the receptions. Many of those initiatives are still continuing today.
Alexander Balitsky, Vladimir Ozerov, Alexei Karpukhin, Oleg Shavyrin and Konstantin Morozov for Vesti from Crimea.