Yerevan doesn't need memorial statues
02.06.2014
12:00
The prototype of Anastas Mikoyan’s monument, a classical tomb memorial statue, was erected in 1980s, and its placement as an art piece in Yerevan downtown is unacceptable.

‘The entire city is filled up with memorial statues which turn the city into a cemetery. Monuments of great art value are few. “Actually, the erection of this monument pursues political aims,” stated Sahak Poghosyan, architect, art specialist.

The Media Center hosted a panel discussion on the plans to erect a monument to Bolshevik and Soviet statesman Anastas Mikoyan, as well as on the policy of monument placement in Yerevan. The other panelists included: Nazareth Karoyan, art critic, founder/director of Institute for Contemporary Art; Arayik Harutyunyan, historian; and Zaruhi Muradyan, artist.

On April 30, Yerevan Council of Elders made a scandalous decision to erect a monument to Anastas Mikoyan, whose personality and biography are considered controversial. This decision sparked protests, consequently disclosing the dark sides of Mikoyan’s biography to the public proving his involvement in Stalin’s oppressions.

‘Mikoyan did not merely participate in the oppressions but initiated and encouraged them. Even Beria’s period did not record murders of so many people,’ noted historian Arayik Harutyunyan. The speaker believes that the disclosed and published documents and data prove Mikoyan’s involvement in those crimes.

On June 1, in a thank-you letter to Yerevan Council of Elders Stepan Mikoyan, Anastas Mikoyan’s eldest son, wrote that his father always aided Armenia with food, as well as initiated de-stalinization and post-Stalinist rehabilitation.

Architect Sahak Petrosyan considers it impertinence at worst to justify the murder of 60 million repressed people in the Soviet period.

Artist Zaruhi Muradyan spoke on Yerevan Chief Architect’s statement that the decision to erect the monument is based on the requests of numerous people.

‘I have sent a proposal to Yerevan Council to rename several streets after our prolific artists, yet my letter remains without a response. I still do not understand what policy the Council has employed to respond to letters.’

With respect to Culture, Minister Hasmik Poghosyan’s statement on discussing only the good past instead of the bad, Zaruhi Muradyan thinks it’s unacceptable and believes that the Minister should have resigned after such an unacceptable statement.

Nazareth Karoyan, founder/director of Institute for Contemporary Art, discussed the impact on the public that erecting Mikoyan’s monument may have and noted t that it constitutes a part of historical memory policy and demonstrates an exemplary statesman image.

‘Back to the Soviet period a policy to create and maintain Mikoyan’s historical image was initiated, and now we return to the past,’ stated Karoyan adding that the monument erection is of symbolic significance, ‘We symbolically reestablished our independence through taking down Lenin’s statue.’

To ensure a better policy for monuments erection in Yerevan, Zaruhi Muradyan suggested that Yerevan Council should hold tenders. ‘I call on the Council for either holding tenders or putting on hold the process, starting immediately with Mikoyan’s monument.’

Though being against any vandalism act, Sahak Poghosyan believes that citizens will merely show their indignation if they damage or explode Mikoyan’s monument.

Arayik Harutyunyan proposed to apply the foreign experience of gathering all the statues to Soviet statesmen and other Soviet monuments in one place and establishing a museum, thus solving the problem.

It should be noted that Anastas Mikoyan’s bronze monument is partially ready. Bolshevik statesman’s monument is planned to be erected in the center of Yerevan, specifically, in the park lying between Isahakyan and Koryun streets.

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