Court rules to protect monument to legendary anti-Communist writer

A lawsuit demanding the demolition of a local sculpture of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in Russia’s Far East has been thrown out

A district court in the Russian city of Vladivostok, the capital of Primorsky Krai, has turned down a request to demolish a monument commemorating late anti-Communist writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The ruling, which can be contested in a higher court, was published by the judiciary body on Friday.

The lawsuit that demanded the demolition of the monument was filed by Andrey Guk, an activist from Tynda, a town located in Amur Region. In his filing, the activist argued Solzhenitsyn was a “controversial figure” in the country’s history and the “embodiment of false concepts about Russia and the Soviet Union.”

The monument to Solzhenitsyn, which was erected in 2015, has long been the subject of debate in the city. Some critics have argued that it has no business being there, given that the late writer was not actually connected to its history apart from Vladivostok being the starting point for Solzhenitsyn’s Russia-wide train tour in 1994 upon his return from immigrating to the US.

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Others consider the statue inappropriate due the late writer’s legacy and his alleged concerted efforts to tarnish the Soviet Union, in particular, and communism in general in his works. A local communist MP, Maxim Shinkarenko, has been especially persistent in his efforts to have the monument demolished, placing a plaque reading “Judas” on it days after it was unveiled.

Early this year, the local administration shot down Shinkarenko’s request to destroy the statue, despite the MP citing a 2015 poll by a local media outlet, which suggested an overwhelming – 87% – support its demolition.

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