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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tsarist Sculptor Defies Bombers With Statue




The irrepressible monarchist sculptor Vyacheslav Klykov, who glorified Russia's last tsar in two statues only to have both of them blown to bits, is trying once again to establish a lasting monument to Nicholas II.


Klykov is to unveil a 7-meter bronze statue of Nicholas in Podolsk, 40 kilometers outside Moscow, on Saturday, with members of a half-dozen ultranationalist, monarchist and conservative Russian Orthodox groups expected to attend.


A smaller, plaster model of the Podolsk statue was blown up in November, as was Klykov's 11-meter statue of Nicholas in the village of Taininskoye outside Moscow in April 1997. Three members of a communist youth group are awaiting trial in the Taininskoye bombing, as well as in connection with the laying of explosives on the monument to Peter the Great on the Moscow River.


This time, Klykov said, things will be different, adding that local Cossacks have agreed to guard the statue.


"Our duty is to restore the statue as soon as possible and provide the security so that terrorists, these former Komsomoltsy, don't dare to approach it in the future," Klykov said in a telephone interview Friday from his studio.


"We must not allow them to profane sacred Russian things, especially monuments to the sovereigns. Thank God we live in times when we start realizing what a great Russia it was that we lost."


The sculptor vowed to restore the Taininskoye statue next summer.


Alexander Rashitsky, spokesman for the violently nationalist Russian National Unity group, said RNE leader Alexander Barkashov, the sculptor's longtime friend, as well as Stanislav Terekhov, head of the nationalist Officers Union of the U.S.S.R., will give speeches at the opening ceremony. It will also feature a short prayer service conducted by a priest of the nearby Church of Nicholas the Martyr.


Nicholas and his family were shot by the Bolsheviks near Yekaterinburg in July 1918. Their remains were exhumed in 1991 and reburied last July in the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg.


Gennady Melnik, spokesman for Moscow region police, said officers had more important things to do than stand watch at a statue.


"What is it, a mausoleum or the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?" he said. "Nobody has ever charged us with the task of guarding this monument. How many police officers would we have to distract from their service protecting the citizens from real crimes?"